To make your own curry paste is a most gratifying expierence. Best results are achieved by using a mortar and pestle, allow at least 20 minutes to make by hand using this authentic method. The flavours and aroma achieved due to pounding are far superior to the quick and easy food processor method. Hand pounding releases flavourful oils and the air is filled with an intoxicating aroma of the spices.
It should be smooth with just a hint of chili pieces. If you are pressed for time, use ready-made canned curry pastes.
Dry fry in a wok over low heat; shallots, garlic, ginger, coriander seeds and cumin seeds, dry fry for about 5 minutes, then grind into a paste in a food processor or place in mortar and pound with pestle until a fine paste.
Add the roasted shrimp paste, dried chiles, salt, tumeric, and curry powder and process or pound until a fine paste.
This can be stored in a glass jar in the refrigerator for about 3-4 months.
This Yellow Curry paste is especially wonderful with chicken.
Making curry paste is such a fun adventure. The first time we learned to make a curry paste was in the kitchen of long time friend, and famous award winning Thai cooking author and teacher, Kashma Loha-unchi who now resides in Oakland, California. That first curry paste making lesson was over 20 years ago. Steve expecially has the rythm down of pounding with the mortar and pestle whilst manuvering a large scaping spoon to assure all the ingredients are continually returned to the bottom of the mortar to be repounded.
This yellow sweet curry is much more of what Westeners think of when you mention curry. It is founded in Indian heritage with it's tumeric and yellow curry powder. Although this yellow curry paste has hints of it's neighbour across the Bay of Bengal, it also has a distinct Thai personality in its lemon grass, shrimp paste, dried chiles, and shallots. Tis curry is especially delightful with potatoes, onions, and chicken.. To learn more of this culinary art-form go to Kasma's site for a great read on the joys of curry paste making: