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Green Curry Paste (Prik Gaeng Kiew Wan)

Yield: about 1 cup

When it comes to green curry paste, there’s a much greater difference in quality between homemade and store-bought. That’s because it features fresh chiles rather than dried. Green curries made from homemade pastes glow brilliantly green while the ones made from canned pastes have a lackluster gray tone. Another benefit of making your own is that you can control the heat. These are the spiciest curries, so adjust the amount of bird’s-eye chiles accordingly if you’re after a milder curry.


  • 2 Tbs. coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. white peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup sliced fresh lemongrass (about 3/4 oz.)
  • 3 Tbs. minced galangal
  • 2 oz. fresh green Thai long chiles (or green cayenne peppers), stems and seeds removed, and minced
  • 1 oz. (about 14) fresh green bird’s-eye chiles, stems removed, seeds removed from half the chiles, and minced
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic (from about 8 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot (from 1 medium shallot)
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh cilantro stems
  • 1 Tbs. kaffir lime zest (from about 2 small limes) or minced kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 Tbs. shrimp paste
  • Coconut oil (optional)

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size 1 Tbs.
  • Calories (kcal) : 20
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 5
  • Fat (g): 0
  • Saturated Fat (g): 0
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 75
  • Carbohydrates (g): 2
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Sugar (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 1


  • Combine the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and peppercorns in a medium skillet, and toast, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the seeds are aromatic and slightly darkened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool. Using a heavy-duty mortar and pestle, grind the toasted seeds and peppercorns into a fine powder. Remove and set aside.
  • Combine the lemongrass and galangal in the mortar and pestle, and pound until ground to a coarse paste, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add the chiles to the mortar, and sprinkle with the salt. Pound until the mixture is quite fine and the oils are fully released, about 25 minutes. If the mixture looks too wet, add some of the ground spices to help absorb excess liquid. Add the cilantro leaves, and pound until completely blended into the paste.
  • Add the garlic, shallot, cilantro stems, zest, and the ground spices; pound until the ingredients are incorporated into a smooth paste, about 20 minutes. You’re looking for a buttery consistency with no chunks, like tomato paste. Add the shrimp paste. It will almost melt into the curry paste as you spread it around.
  • Use the curry paste immediately, or store in an airtight container covered with a thin layer of oil for up to 1 month in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer.


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