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Curry Paste, Thai Red/Green (P, TNT)
Source: "The Complete Book of Spices," by Jill Norman. (Viking Studio Books)
Yield: About 1 cup

Red Paste:
3 shallots
3 cloves garlic
2 stalks lemon grass
1 tbsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. black peppercorns
10 dried red chilies
1 tbsp. chopped coriander root
1 tbsp. galangal, ground
2 tsp. lime peel, grated
Salt, to taste

Chop the shallots, garlic, and lemon grass.

Heat a heavy frying pan and add the coriander and cumin seeds after 2 to 3 minutes. Dry roast until they darken, shaking the pan to prevent burning. Allow to cool, then grind to a powder with the peppercorns.

Remove the seeds from the chilies and chop. Pound or process all the ingredients to a smooth paste.

Green Paste:
Follow the recipe for Red Curry Paste, using fresh green chiles instead of dried red and adding 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves.

Poster's Notes:
Curries are an important element in the Thai menu. They are flavored with ferociously hot pastes made of spices and either red, green or yellow chiles, according to the ingredients used. As in India, the spice mix is prepared when needed and is not usually stored, but these pastes will keep for about a month in the refrigerator.

Curry paste will stay fresh longer if you keep it topped with oil. The oil helps protect the spices from oxidation, reducing loss of potency (when kept refrigerated.) Added bonus: the oil becomes infused and can also be used for flavoring. Curries are used for beef and other robust dishes.

Posted by Ruth Baks

Nutritional Info Per Serving: N/A