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How to Stretch Thai Curry for Mulitple Meals: a Thai Yellow Curry becomes a ramen bowl, and with small changes becomes different enough to be exciting and no one complains about leftovers! A fantastic dinner--Thai yellow curry paste recipe included!

Thai Yellow Curry Paste

if you do not have a wet dry grinder or a powerful mixer like a VitaMix, please see this Green Curry post about pounding the tougher ingredients first, like the lemongrass. For more about using a wet dry grinder, see this Chu Chee Curry post. What is important is that the paste be smooth--pinch off a tiny bit and rub it between your fingers. It should not be gritty. As I've mentioned, Thai curry paste freezes fabulously. I like to freeze it in a silicone cupcake pan, and then pop them out and individually vacuum pack them.
Cuisine Thai
Author TheSpicedLife


  • 3 oz dried New Chile Peppers (Anaheim is a decent sub also)
  • Boiling water
  • 3 stalks of lemon grass, (the bottom 3 inches only, trimmed of tough outer leaves, finely chopped)
  • 2 T minced fresh ginger
  • 1 T coriander seeds, toasted in dry skillet
  • 1 T cumin seeds, toasted in dry skillet
  • 1 1/2 T Thai shrimp paste
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 T ground turmeric
  • 2 T curry powder
  • 1 T garam masala
  • pinch of salt


  1. Cut off the stems of the dried chile peppers and discard. Then slice length-wise down the chile pepper and remove the seeds and any prominent membrane. Place in a heat-proof bowl.
  2. Pour boiling water over the dried chile peppers, enough to submerge them completely (I like to place a heavy-ish plate on them to hold them down). Leave them soaking for 20 minutes.
  3. If you are using a regular food processor (see my links above regarding making paste with processor versus powerful wet dry grinder), use this time to pound the lemongrass with a heavy mortar and pestle and break down those fibers. After some time, add the ginger and pound it as well.
  4. Place the coriander seeds in a small, dry skillet. Toast over medium heat. After 1-2 minutes, add the cumin seeds. When the spices are fragrant, another 1-2 minutes, pour them into a spice grinder or the wet dry grinder. Whichever implement you use, they first need to cool down a bit so set that aside.
  5. Place the shrimp paste in a small square of foil. Fold the foil over the paste on all 4 sides, and then place in that same skillet over medium heat. Toast for 2 1/2 minutes on each side, and then remove to let cool.
  6. By now the spices should be cool enough to grind. Whichever machine you are using, grind them until fine.
  7. Place the rehydrated chile peppers in the processor or wet dry grinder. Reserve the soaking water--you can use it to loosen the blades anytime.
  8. Process/puree the chile peppers. If you used a spice grinder, add the ground coriander and cumin. Process (or puree) again. Add the lemongrass and ginger--pounded if you are using a food processor but unpounded if you are using a wet dry grinder. Puree smooth.
  9. During this process, if the machine heats up, take a break and let it cool. You do not want it to cook the paste. Also, regularly scrape the sides of the machine.
  10. Add the remaining ingredients. Process or puree smooth again. Remember you can add some chile pepper soaking water if you need to.
  11. Pinch a tiny amount of the paste and rub between your fingers. If it is gritty, puree some more. Repeat until it is mostly smooth.
  12. Set aside to use or freeze for later use.