Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon

Yellow Curry Paste (Prik Gaeng Leung)

Yield: about 1 cup

Fresh turmeric gives this curry paste an attractive goldenrod hue and a peppery, pleasantly bitter flavor. Fewer chiles in the paste mean this is a mild curry.


  • 1/2 oz. dried red spur chiles or other dried chiles (see Tip, below)
  • 2 Tbs. coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sliced fresh lemongrass
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh turmeric root
  • 3 Tbs. minced galangal
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic (from about 8 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot (from 1 medium shallot)
  • 3 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): 3
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Sugar (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 1


  • Remove the stems from the chiles, and shake out and discard the seeds. Break the chiles into pieces, and soak them in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes to soften.
  • Meanwhile, combine the coriander and cumin seeds in a medium skillet, and toast, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the seeds are aromatic and slightly darkened, 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool.
  • Using a heavy-duty mortar and pestle, grind the toasted seeds into a fine powder. Remove and set aside.
  • Combine the lemongrass, turmeric, and galangal in the mortar, and pound until ground to a coarse paste, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Drain the chiles, and finely dice them. Add to the mortar, and sprinkle with the salt. Pound until the mixture is fine and the oils are fully released, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, shallot, cilantro stems, zest, and reserved spices, and 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 it 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.


Use chiles such as Mexican guajillo, puya, New Mexico, Anaheim, or California that are fragrant but not overly spicy.


Rate or Review


We haven't received any reviews yet for this recipe.

Have you made it? Tell us what you thought!

Rate this Recipe

Write a Review


View All


Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks

We hope you’ve enjoyed your free articles. To keep reading, subscribe today.

Get the print magazine, 25 years of back issues online, over 7,000 recipes, and more.