Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Penang Curry Paste

Back in one of my older posts (curry noodle soup), I linked to a recipe for Penang curry paste. It was the wrong one, which I discovered when I made it for a bunch of people.

I looked in my handwritten recipe book and found the real one. I'll be fixing the link, since that last one was no good.


  • 5 dried chilis (I use birds eye chilis)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large shallot, sliced
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, mashed with the side of a knife and chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lime zest
  • 1 tbsp cilantro root (this can be hard to find, as most grocers cut the root off fresh cilantro)
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp peanuts
  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste

Let's do it!

  1. In a dry saucepan, toast the coriander seeds and peanuts until fragrant. Don't let them burn! Let cool.
  2. Using a spice grinder, or a mortar and pestle, grind up the dry ingredients: chilis, salt, pepper, coriander seeds and peanuts.
  3. Using a mortar and pestle, crush all the other ingredients. Depending on the size of your mortar and pestle, you may have to do them one at a time, and mix them together in another bowl. 
  4. Mix everything together.
  5. At this point, you can either cook with it, or put it all in a zipper freezer bag, flatten it and put it in the freezer. I'll break off chunks of this and let it simmer in coconut milk when I'm ready to make curry. This makes at least 6 servings of curry, depending on how spicy you like your curry to be. 
Note: I was gifted a spice grinder at our wedding and it is INCREDIBLE. I like to buy my spices unground, because I heard that they keep better that way, and it also makes it much easier to toast them, which a lot of Asian recipes call for. A spice grinder makes this recipe way easier to make.