Homemade Green Curry Paste is incomparable to the store-bought one! It has the most incredible aroma and bold signature flavors. It’s a key ingredient in many authentic Thai recipes and featured widely in Thai restaurants. When you make this Green Curry Paste at home, you can control the level of spice to your tastes and still have superior flavor. Make an extra batch and keep it in your freezer for later!
Green Curry Paste
There is absolutely no jarred, store-bought comparison to this easy homemade Green Curry Paste. If you were to put the two side by side and compare them, you’d find that both the aroma and flavor of the homemade paste is overwhelmingly greater. This at home recipe is loaded with fresh, vibrant ingredients. Oh – and it’s SO easy to make!
Aromatic, boldly flavored ingredients like Thai chili peppers, galangal root, lemongrass, Thai basil, and more blend together to a smooth consistency. Between the powerful flavor and intoxicating aroma, you’re going to thoroughly enjoy every last bite of this homemade Thai paste.
I love using Green Curry Paste in a number of recipes during the spring and summertime, namely because of the vibrant, fresh flavor. It’s delicious when it’s used to flavor various vegetables, chicken, shrimp, and more! Throughout the warm months, I typically find myself making several batches of this paste so I can always keep it on hand in my freezer. That way, when I’m craving a fresh, boldly flavored, and fast dinner, I can whip us some Thai Green Curry in a flash.
How to Make Green Curry Paste
Ingredients You Need:
Just about all of the ingredients here are quite important, but you can play around with a couple substitutions if needed. I highly recommend that you go to an Asian market to find most of these ingredients.
- Thai Chili Peppers – Make sure to use green Thai chili peppers to keep the paste a vibrant green color. However, if you absolutely must, you can use red.
- Poblano Pepper – These mild peppers contribute slightly to the spice level, but mostly gives the paste some body and green color.
- Aromatics – The main aromatics for this recipe include galangal root, lemongrass, garlic, and scallions. Don’t omit any of these signature ingredients. (See below for galangal substitution.)
- Herbs – The combination of Thai basil and cilantro stems is what gives this paste the fresh flavor that makes it so unique. It’s important to use Thai basil as opposed to “regular,” or Italian basil.
- Spices – Whole coriander seeds, cumin, kosher coarse salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and sugar create a medley of powerful flavors.
- Limes – You’ll only need the zest, not the juice.
- Shrimp Paste – You can use shrimp paste or dried shrimp. Whichever is easier to find will work, but no matter what, do NOT omit it! This is a must-have ingredient.
- Peanut Oil – Peanut oil has a slightly noticeable peanut taste that adds a great note to the paste overall.
Prepare the ingredients.
Chop all of the ingredients as much as you can.
Blend the ingredients together.
Place the prepared ingredients into a blender or food processor. Pulse the blender to combine all of the ingredients together until a smooth paste forms. Be sure to scrape the sides of the blender as needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
How spicy is the Green Curry Paste?
Original Thai green curry paste is quite spicy. It features a combination of hot Thai chilis and milder Thai chilis. The great thing about making this paste at home, is being able to balance the level of hot and mild to your own liking.
The only bad news for us in the Western countries is the ability to find all of the ingredients that are authentic to the region. Because of our limited access to regional ingredients, best choice is always to check out the Asian markets, and take our own spice tolerance into consideration.
If you like it hot and spicy, stay within the spicy pepper range. Of course, you have to have the Thai chili peppers, but you can also add in serrano peppers or mild Thai long chili peppers.
To make it milder, use fewer Thai chili peppers (stay in the 3-4 range for mild and go up to 8 for medium spice), and use milder additional peppers, like poblano, jalapeño, or other milder chili peppers of your region.
Another way to make this paste milder is to remove the seeds and white membrane from the peppers.
Always remember to wear gloves when working with spicy peppers, and don’t touch yourself or anyone else!
What is galangal root?
Galangal root is an important part of the green curry paste, but unfortunately, it’s not easy to locate at most stores. If you are having a hard time finding it, use ginger root instead, and increase the lime zest slightly. Galangal is milder than ginger, so you can use slightly less or keep it the same amount if you enjoy the taste of ginger.
Using a mortar and pestle to make curry paste:
Although the original curry pastes use a mortar and pestle to grind all of the ingredients into a paste, I know it’s unrealistic to expect people to regularly prepare pastes like that at this day and age. If you have the energy and the will, it is recommended that you grind the paste by hand. The flavor and aroma will be much more enhanced.
Realistically, I recommend using your blender or food processor to save yourself some time and effort.
Store the curry paste in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for about 4-5 days.
To keep it fresh for even longer, freeze it! I love to make a double batch and portion it out into about 1/3 cup servings and freeze it. Make sure to only use freezer-proof bags or containers or large ice cube treys to freeze. (If using ice cube trays, transfer the frozen curry cubes into freezer zip-top bags.)
To thaw, do it slowly in the refrigerator. It’ll stay good in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Green Curry Paste Recipe
Green Curry Paste
- 4-6 green Thai chili peppers add a couple more if you want spicier
- 1 poblano pepper*
- 1 inch galangal root
- 3 limes – zest only
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup Thai basil leaves
- 2 shallots
- 3 lemongrass stalks, white only
- 3 scallion stalks
- 5-6 cilantro stems
- 1 tsp shrimp paste
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp coarse salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 1 tsp white granulated sugar
- Chop ingredients as much as you can and place them into a blender. Make sure your blender is powerful or it will have a hard time making smooth paste.
- Pulse to blend all the ingredients until smooth paste forms. Scrape sides and bottom of the blender when needed.
- Store the curry paste in an air-tight glass container with a lid, in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
- You can also freeze it to keep for several months! I love to make a double batch and portion it out into about 1/3-1/2 cup servings and freeze it. Make sure to freezer it in air-tight freezer bags or containers. To thaw, do it slowly in the refrigerator.