Thai Penang Red Curry Paste Recipe

Shrimp in a penang curry sauce
Bill Brennan/Perspectives/Getty Images
  • 20 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: Paste for large dish (serves 6)
Ratings (8)

This delicious Thai red curry paste recipe hails from southern Thailand and carries with it flavors from Malaysia, Burma, and even India. This version is from Penang, a state in northern Malaysia. It has a few extra ingredients to make it even more flavorful than the usual red curry paste.

Try this homemade Thai red curry paste with your choice of beef, chicken, tofu, wheat gluten, or beans and vegetables - you'll love its aroma and unique blend of flavors. It's easy to make with a food processor or blender. Once you make your own fresh paste, you may never buy it already prepared.

What You'll Need

  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste or ketchup
  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal, peeled and sliced (or you can substitute ginger root)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce. Or, for vegetarians: substitute soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste, Or, for vegetarians: substitute 1 tablespoons Golden Mountain Sauce. Both are available at Asian food stores
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (Thai preferred, or Mexican red chili powder if it isn't available)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon coriander seeds, ground (grind them yourself in a coffee grinder for the best taste), or use 1 tablespoon ground coriander from the spice aisle
  • 1-2 red chilies, depending on how spicy you want it, or 3/4 to 1.5 teaspoons dried crushed chili or cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon. ground cloves
  • 1 can thick or good-quality coconut milk
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves (roughly chopped if large) for garnish for your finished dish

How to Make It

  1. Place all ingredients (except garnish) in a food processor.
  2. Process well to form a paste.
  3. Use for making a large curry dish.
  4. You can store the paste in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 10 days, or freeze it.

Using Penang Red Curry Paste

  1. Add up to 1 more can coconut milk to the paste if you want to create a curry sauce to use on meat, fish, tofu, or vegetables.
  2. Add meat, fish, tofu, wheat gluten, beans or vegetables, and cook either in a wok or large frying pan or a covered casserole dish in the oven.
  1. Bake meat-based Penang Curry at 375 F for at least 1 hour, or until meat is well done.

Garnish your Penang Curry dish with the fresh basil leaves. Note: for full instructions on making a curry from a paste, see the Penang Red Curry Recipe.