PK’s Cheaters Red Curry Paste

Here is my, unashamedly, unauthentic red curry paste :).


I use it to make Thai Red Chicken Curries and also Tom Kha Gai (one of my favourite south-east Asian soups).

Please read PK’s Curry Paste Kit before you get going and also ramp the chili factor skywards if you are allowed to. You will notice that I use a blender because I am a lazy cook. However I prefer the chunkier look of the paste if you use a mortar and pestle.

One last thing, I would love to use Kaffir lime zest instead of common limes but my tree never seems to fruit. I think it has something to do with what it is grafted to.

You will need:

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 Tbsp whole coriander seeds
    • 0.5 Tbsp whole cumin seeds
    • 1 Tbsp rock salt (add more if you want a more authentic taste)
    • 0.5 tsp whole black peppercorns
    • 1 Tbsp powdered kashmiri chili  (add more and use whole chilis if you want a more authentic taste and look)
    • 3 coriander roots
    • 7cm of pickled galangal root
    • 5 garlic cloves
    • 3 lemongrass stalks, freshly harvested, leaves removed
    • 1 large red shallot
    • 1 Tbsp dried belacan (shrimp paste)
    • 1 Tbsp lime zest (I used about 2 small limes to get this much)
    • a dash of lime juice
    • a dash of water (add less or more depending on your desired consistency)
    • a dash of olive oil or garlic infused olive oil (I think you can skip this if you are using a mortar and pestle)
    • 2 Kaffir lime leaves (sorry everyone, I know this is really not the done thing traditionally)
  • Equipment
    • a chopping board
    • a sharp knife
    • a serving bowl
    • a wet blender with a very small bowl
    • a dry spice mixer
    • a medium frypan (for dry roasting the spices)

Make the paste

I love bringing everything together before I start cooking. The ingredients in this dish are so visually appealing and the aromas are simply amazing.



  1. Dry roast the 1 Tbsp whole coriander seeds, 0.5 Tbsp whole cumin seeds and the 0.5 tsp whole black peppercorns.
  2. When cooled, pop them in you dry spice mixer and pulse to a rough consistency.
  3. Chuck the rest of the ingredients (at least roughly chopped) in your wet blender:
    • 1 Tbsp powdered kashmiri chili
    • 1 Tbsp rock salt
    • 3 coriander roots
    • 7cm of galangal root
    • 5 garlic cloves
    • 3 lemongrass stalks
    • 1 large red shallot
    • 1 Tbsp dried belacan
    • 1 Tbsp lime zest
    • a dash of lime juice
    • a dash of water
    • a dash of olive oil or garlic infused olive oil
    • 2 Kaffir lime leaves





This paste freezes well in a small container or snap-lock bag. I prefer to make it in just enough of a quantity so I can use it fresh in a dish.

Enjoy and please send me your tips,


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