Thai Green Curry Paste

Thai Green Curry Paste

The Spruce / Karen Hibbard

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Yield: 1 1/3 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
61 Calories
2g Fat
10g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 61
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 2mg 1%
Sodium 796mg 35%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 8mg 38%
Calcium 39mg 3%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 251mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Thai green curry paste is surprisingly quick to make, and it's much fresher tasting than the store-bought variety. Just add to your favorite meats or seafood, vegetables, tofu, or wheat gluten, and this paste will create delicious, velvety curries. This paste is also excellent when 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 such as eggplant and chopped tomatoes to the curry is especially good.

When your curry paste is done, always taste for salt and spice, as curry can be a trial-and-error process to achieve the right flavor balance for your tastes. Add more fish or soy sauce if not salty enough, or more chile pepper or dried pepper flakes if it's not spicy enough. 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 Thai green curry paste recipe is ready to be used as soon as you make it. You can also store it 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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"This incredibly delicious sauce has ruined me for store-bought Thai curry paste. It's very fast to make. I used 2 large jalapenos and 1 Thai chile for extra heat. I sauteed the paste, added the remaining coconut milk, green beans, tofu, and chicken. Served it over steamed rice. It was so easy and good." —Danielle Centoni

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A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil

  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro

  • 2 to 3 jalapeños, roughly chopped, seeds removed for less heat (if desired)

  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic

  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bottom 4 inches roughly chopped (or 3 tablespoons prepared frozen or bottled lemongrass)

  • 1 shallot, roughly chopped (or 1/4 cup chopped red onion)

  • 1 (1/2-inch) piece galangal (or ginger), peeled and sliced

  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons coconut milk

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Thai green curry paste recipe ingredients

    The Spruce / Karen Hibbard

  2. Place all ingredients in a food processor, chopper, or high-speed blender. Add just enough coconut milk to allow the ingredients to blend together, adding a little more if needed. Process well to form a smooth and fragrant Thai green curry paste.

    Thai green curry paste ingredients in high-speed blender

    The Spruce / Karen Hibbard

  3. Taste the curry for salt and spice. If it's too salty, add a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon juice. Add more chile peppers for more heat, and blend again if needed.

    Thai Green Curry Paste in a bowl

    The Spruce / Karen Hibbard

Tip

If using a mortar and pestle, chop the ingredients finely. Pound all dry herbs & spices together to form a paste, then gradually add the wet ingredients, stirring until smooth.

Recipe Variations

  • For vegetarian/vegan paste: Replace the fish sauce and shrimp paste with 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • You could add up to 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, but this tends to turn the paste brownish-green instead of bright green.
  • 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.
  • If you want more spicy heat, add 1 or 2 Thai chiles.

How to Use Thai Green Curry Paste

  • To make a green curry: Sauté it in a tablespoon of oil for about two minutes, then add the rest of the can of coconut milk leftover from making the paste. Add a few handfuls of chopped veggies and about 1 1/2 pounds of protein. Simmer until cooked through and top with more fresh basil.
  • You can also use the curry paste as a marinade for seafood or meat, stir fry it with veggies as a "dry" sauce, or add to soup for a punch of flavor.

How to Store and Freeze

  • You can bottle up any leftovers and seal them completely. Curry paste should keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  • For longer storage, you can freeze it. Add to an ice cube tray, freeze, then transfer to a zip-close bag for up to a month. Take them out individually as needed per your recipe.

What's the Difference Between Red and Green Thai Curry?

While all Thai curry pastes typically share some ingredients, like garlic, ginger, chiles, and fish sauce, green curries contain green chiles and fresh herbs like cilantro and basil, giving it a distinct hue. Makrut lime leaves and/or peel are sometimes used for a fragrant, often spicy curry. Red curry is made using red chiles and/or chile paste or powder and often includes a little tomato sauce to boost the color and flavor. All Thai curries can be spicy or mild depending on who makes them, but green curries are often one of the spicier options.