Aromatic Curry Paste
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This curry paste packs a punch, not just flavour but heat too. No surprise since this curry paste is best used in Southeast Asian curries and marinades, a region known for its fiery cuisines.
Luckily this curry paste itself isn’t something you eat on its own, but rather it is a starting point or base ingredient for a variety of different curries, sauces and marinades.
Originally this curry paste was used as the starter for one of my all time favourite curries, Beef rendang. If you have ever had the pleasure of trying rendang, then you know why it is considered one of the most flavourful curries in the world, and all that flavour starts right here, with this aromatic curry paste.
What is aromatic curry paste used for?
This recipe makes quite a large amount relative to how much is used, so having it kicking around in the fridge after making a batch of rendang forced me to get creative.
I quickly realised that the versatile flavours used in this curry paste can be used to create a myriad of different dishes and marinades from cuisines all over the world.
Here are some of my favourite recipes you can use this curry paste for:
This is just the tip of the iceberg. The flavour profile of this aromatic curry paste lends itself very well to dishes from all over the world and is a great starting point for most South Asian, specifically Indian, Malaysian and Thai cuisine.
What is in aromatic curry paste
This aromatic curry paste contains:
- Hot chili pepper
- Sweet pepper
- Lemon grass
What Else Can Be Used?
This ingredient list is flexible. If you are going to experiment, just make sure the ingredients you are adding have a purpose. This is an aromatic paste, so only aromatic or bold ingredients should be added.
For instance, celery, tomatoes, and cucumbers, while delicious, are not very aromatic, and have subtle flavours compared to the other ingredients. They will add nothing to the paste except water that is cooked off whenever this paste is used.
However, onions, garlic, ginger, are quite aromatic, and have distinct, bold flavours which they add to the curry paste and they cook down well which is perfect for starting a sauce or curry.
Some other ingredients that work well in an aromatic curry paste:
- Fresh herbs
- Other varieties of pepper
The amount of each ingredient is approximate, but this is an onion and garlic heavy paste, with everything else coming in a little weaker.
You can control the heat of the paste both with how many chillies you use, and which chillies you use, keeping in mind that this is just a small portion of a recipe and the heat will be diluted in the finished dish.
Any of the 50,000 varieties of pepper will work for this dish. Ripe or green Thai chillies are my favourite in terms of flavour, heat, and availability. Jalapeno peppers, Serrano, or Italian long hot peppers could be used for a milder version.
How To Make An Aromatic Curry Paste
Start by cleaning and peeling any ingredients as necessary. Larger ingredients should be broken down into manageable sizes.
Add everything to the food processor and run on high, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until the ingredients have become a kind of chunky paste.
Aromatic Curry Paste
- Knife and Cutting Board
- Food Processor
- 1 large onion
- 1 large bell pepper
- 5-6 whole Thai chili pepper red or green
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 medium carrot (1" thick, 5-6" long)
- 1 cup cilantro
- ½ cup parsley
- 2 large lemongrass stalks finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons ginger root
- tablespoon turmeric root or ½ tablespoon turmeric powder
- Clean and peel all of the ingredients as necessary. Break larger ingredients down into manageable pieces and add everything to the food processor.
- Run on high until all of the ingredients have broken down into a chunky paste.
- The curry paste is now ready to use as abase or starter for a variety of different curries, sauces, and marinades.
- Store sealed in the fridge for several weeks, or in the freezer for several months until ready to use.
Recipes Using An Aromatic Curry Paste
How To Use An Aromatic Curry Paste
To Start A Curry:
Bring some oil/butter/ghee to heat in a curry pot and add desired amount of curry paste. Fry the curry paste for several minutes until the water content has reduced and the paste as started to caramelize before adding the meat or other curry ingredients.
For Use As A Marinade:
Combine the paste with other desired spices and flavourings, and combine with lemon juice and some oil before coating meat for roasting or grilling.
Leftovers And Storage:
My food processor tends to work best when I make larger portions and even a large batch of beef rendang curry will only use a small amount of the paste.
Store the remaining curry paste in a well sealed container in the fridge for later use. It will survive quite a while sealed in the fridge, however it may start to darken in colour over time. For longer storage keep it in the freezer where it will be fine for many months.
Alternatively you could freeze the leftovers in individual portions using something like an ice cube tray. When you are ready to use some curry paste, simply grab 1 or 2 frozen cubes of curry paste and add them to the pan.