Thai Green Curry Paste Recipe

Thai green curry paste on a spoon
The Spruce
  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 Cup (1 portion)

Thai green curry paste is surprisingly easy to make, and it's much fresher tasting than the store-bought variety. Added to your favorite meats or seafood, noodles, vegetables, tofu, or wheat gluten, this paste will create sumptuous curries. This paste is also excellent added to noodles, soups, or used as a marinade for fish, shellfish, chicken or pork. For beef or bison, slicing the meat very thinly and adding vegetables to the curry such as eggplant and chopped tomatoes is especially good.

When your curry is done, always perform a taste-taste for salt and spice, as it's a trial-and-error process sometimes to achieve the right balance. Add more fish or soy sauce if not salty enough, or some fresh-cut Thai red chilies if it's not spicy enough (or add some dried crushed chili). To balance excessive spiciness, add more coconut milk. If it's become too salty or sweet, add a squeeze of lime juice. If it's too sour for your taste, add a touch more sugar. Finish your curry by sprinkling over generous amounts of fresh basil.

This paste is ready to be used as soon as you make it, or you can store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks and use it as needed. The best part? The paste can also be frozen for future use.

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Ingredients

  • 1 stalk​ lemongrass (minced or 3 tablespoons prepared frozen or bottled lemongrass; available at Asian stores)
  • 1 to 3 green chilies (or Thai green chilies or jalapeños, sliced)
  • 1 shallot (or 1/4 cup minced purple onion, sliced)
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2-inch size piece of galangal (or ginger, thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (chopped fresh)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper (available in most supermarket spice aisles)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 tablespoon​ fish sauce (vegetarians: substitute 1 tablespoon soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon ​​​shrimp paste (available at Asian stores; vegetarians: substitute 1/2 teaspoon salt)
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 3 to 4 tablespoon coconut milk (enough to blend ingredients together)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Thai Green Curry Paste recipe ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. Place all ingredients in a food processor, chopper, or blender. Process well to form a smooth and fragrant Thai green curry paste.

    ingredients in food processor
    The Spruce
  3. Taste-test it for salt and spice. If too salty, add a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon juice. Add more chili for more heat.

    Thai Green Curry Paste in jar
    The Spruce
  4. Your curry paste is now ready to be used.

Tips

If using a mortar and pestle, pound all dry herbs & spices together to form a paste, then gradually add the wet ingredients, stirring until smooth. Your curry paste is now ready to use.

Recipe Variations

For vegetarian/vegan paste: Instead of fish sauce and shrimp paste, add 1 tablespoon soy sauce plus 1/3 teaspoon salt, as stated in the ingredients list. Alternatively, you could add 3 tablespoon soy sauce, but this tends to turn the paste brownish-green instead of bright green, as one of the reviewers of this recipe so helpfully noted.

As you're cooking, you can also add 2 to 3 makrut lime leaves (left whole) as well as any leftover lemongrass stalk pieces for even more flavor.

How to Store and Freeze Thai Green Curry Paste

You can bottle up any leftovers and seal them completely, and curry paste should keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

For longer storage, some folks say the taste will be altered if you freeze it, but if you would like to do so, freeze the curry in ice cube trays. Then transfer to a zip-close bag for up to a month.