Making curry paste: how do you do it?

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Updated on 29 May 2023

It is always handy to have a homemade curry paste at home. A homemade curry paste tastes much better than a ready-made one. It allows you to decide for yourself what goes into it and avoids preservatives and additives. And it is not at all as difficult and complicated as most people think. But how exactly do you make a curry paste and what do you need?

What do you need?

In Asia, a curry paste is still often made by hand, but using a blender or food processor is of course much easier. The best mixing bowl depends on how much curry paste you want to prepare at once. For small quantities, a small mixing bowl is most convenient; otherwise the you have to stop the blender or food processor each time.

Commonly used ingredients

  • Dry spices such as nutmeg, cumin, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika or normal paprika.
  • ginger, lime grass and/or turmeric
  • Tomato, garlic, onions or shallots
  • Lime
  • Nuts such as raw cashew nuts
  • Oil; coconut oil or olive oil

How to make a curry paste?

How you make a curry paste obviously varies from recipe to recipe. In most cases, you blend all the ingredients into a fine paste with a blender or food processor. Then let this curry paste simmer on the stove for 5 – 10 minutes. This way, the flavours will develop better and the curry paste will keep longer.

For a curry paste, I always recommend following a recipe. After all, a curry paste is a concentrate of different flavours. If you taste a curry paste on its own, the flavours will be too dominant, making it difficult to estimate what the final result will be.

Of course, you can develop your own curry paste recipes, but you need to know what you are doing.

Why make a curry paste yourself?

There are many advantages to a homemade curry paste:

  • Healthier: you decide what goes into it. Therefore, there are no converting agents or additives in it.
  • Cheaper: a ready-made curry paste is a lot more expensive than when you make it yourself.
  • Convenient: if you have a curry paste in the freezer, you can always make a meal quickly and easily. Besides the curry paste, you need vegetables, meat and coconut milk. Normal milk or yogurt also works fine.

Tip: It is more convenient to freeze the curry paste immediately in the desired portions. That way, you don’t have to defrost more curry paste than you are going to use. Ice cube molds work perfectly for this.

Indian curry paste

The most popular curry paste comes from India: a country for the curry lover. In the supermarket, you will find many ready-made dry spices; where different spices are mixed together. This is handy; that way you don’t have to buy all the spices separately.

Indian curry paste recipes

  • Tikka massala

Thai curry paste

Thai curry pastes are, of course, also hugely popular. They often have fewer spices than Indian curries and a real Thai curry paste is much hotter than an Indian curry.

Thai curry paste recipes

  • Red thai curry
  • Green thai curry
  • Malaysian curry

Finally, we have curries from Malaysia and Indonesia. These are less popular, but still very tasty. Both Thai and Malaysian curry pastes often contain lemongrass, ginger, galangal and coconut meat.

Conclusion: to make your own curry paste or not?

Give it a try I would say and you will find out how easy and delicious it is. At a certain point, you will know better and better what you can put in a curry. In the future, we hope to share curry paste recipes with you too.

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