Making your own curry paste is so much nicer and satisfying than the commercially available pastes. However, nowadays, with all the competition, even commercially prepared paste are quite good substitutes. I find that the ’Mae Ploy’ or ‘Maesri’ brands work well in emergencies. You can find them in most oriental grocers and the Asian aisle in Coles or Woolworths supermarkets. For those of you who have the time to make your own paste, here’s the recipe that I use.
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp shrimp paste
15 fresh green bird’s eye chillies – use a mixture of normal green chillies and bird’s eye if you want your curry mild. You need the green chillies to get the colour (or it wouldn’t be called green curry paste, would it?). I normally use 10 bird’s eye and 5 ordinary green chillies.
6 cloves garlic
3 cm fresh galangal/lengkuas
2 stalks lemon grass – white part only
6 kaffir lime leaves
2 coriander plant
Grated rind of 1 lime
1 tsp salt
1 to 2 tsp black peppercorn
Dry fry the coriander and cumin in a heavy based pan, stirring constantly for 2 to 3 min. Remove and dry grind to a powder.
Wrap the shrimp paste in a foil and grill for 2 to 3 mins, turning one or twice.
Put all ingredients in a food processor and process into a fine paste. Use the paste to make THAI GREEN CHICKEN CURRY and may be stored in the fridge for up to one week.