Who doesn't love Thai curry, this recipe was shown to me by a Thai, so is pretty authentic. The paste is made up of dried and fresh ingredients, and is worth the effort to make, shop bought pastes and sauces will not even come close to this paste. In Thailand cooks learn to judge the balance by smell, but that is best left to Thai's, or David Thompson, that practice is far too advanced for myself or novice paste makers. If you do happen to make this paste, i would not worry first time round about tring to judge the balance as you can correct this at the cooking stage. After a couple of attempts you can taste as you go!
1 tbsp coriander seeds (roasted until fragrant)
2 cardamon pods (roasted until fragrant)
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon of salt
10 big dried red chillies - seeds removed and pre-soaked in water for 10 minutes, then finely chopped.
5g lemongrass-chopped (white bottom piece)
5g kaffir lime peel - (alternatively use 2 lime leaves center stem removed and finely chopped. Kaffir limes are harder to come by in the west, kaffir lime leaves are easily bought frozen).
10g coriander root - chopped i(f not available use 10g of the stems closest to the roots)
15g shallots -(chopped) small asian shallots with pink skins
15g garlic - crushed
5g shrimp paste
10 small red chillies
Place the dried ingredients into a pestle and mortar,grind to a powder. Add the rest of the ingredients,hardest first and pound to a smooth paste. This can take long time but the result is well worth the effort.
I find that adding an ingredient at a time and pounding is easier to work with, else the mortar is overloaded. Alternatively add all of the ingredients to a blender or spice grinder, and blitz to a smooth paste. You might need to loosen the ingredients with a little water. This method is not as good as the latter but does make a suitable paste.
The paste can be stored in the fridge for up to a week in a sealed container and can be frozen, but the flavour will diminish.