For ya’ll playing at home: this is where it’s at. Homemade pastes. I would always recommend a mortar and pestle. There’s something about bruising the flavour out of raw ingredients rather than processing it that releases the flavour better I find. If you grab one from your Asian grocer they aren’t expensive, just get a big one so shit doesn’t go flying everywhere. Doing it this way is a labour of love, but give it a go – think of it like a Saturday afternoon challenge to try and do a curry completely from scratch. I promise you’ll be proud as punch.
Authentic Thai Massaman Curry Paste
Makes enough for two batches of my massaman recipe
Adapted from Melbourne's Chin Chin
- 2tbs fresh coriander root
- 2 red onions
- 3 lemongrass stalks, white bit only
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 knobs of galangal – see note
- 10 dried red chillies, soaked in boiling water & deseeded
- Handful of peanuts
- 2tbs coriander seeds
- 2tbs cumin seeds
- 5 cloves
Start by chopping up the fresh ingredients (particularly the lemongrass and galangal) suuuuper fine. The littler you get this the better.
If using a mortar & pestle…
Start by working the fresh ingredients and peanuts until they start to break down then add the spices. Keep working this (with well earned breaks in between) until a smooth paste starts to form.
If using a food processor…
Add all the ingredients to your processor and puree until smooth. If it needs a little help, add a splash of water and pinch of salt and keep blending until a paste forms.
To get the best result here, head to your local Asian grocer for your ingredients. Things like the coriander and lemongrass will be so much fresher and they’ll have fresh or frozen galangal. If that’s not an option, substitute galangal for ginger.
Now you’re ready for the curry…