Thai Red Curry Paste (Kaeng Kua)


Kaeng Kua is ‘basic’ Thai red curry paste that I will use in the next few days to make a thai red curry with chicken and thai fish cakes. Like so many other foodstuffs, thai red curry paste is better homemade from scratch than store-bought. It is to easy to prepare, the hard part may be to locate all of the authentic ingredients. This is Miranti’s authentic recipe from The High Heel Gourmet. She is very clear about what is authentic and what is not. I’ve cheated only a little here, as I’ve used the zest of a regular lime rather than a kaffir lime. I did use actual cilantro roots though. Just as green curry paste, this paste has great depth of flavor due to its freshness. The dried red chile peppers I used are apparently not as red as they should be, as my curry paste turned out more brown than red. But the taste was absolutely fine.


14 dried red chiles

1/4 cup chopped galangal

1/2 cup thinly sliced lemongrass

1 whole garlic bulb, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots

1 tsp grated kaffir lime zest

1 Tbsp chopped cilantro root

1 Tbsp Thai shrimp paste

1 Tbsp salt


Wrap the shrimp paste in aluminum foil (or banana leaf)…

…and roast for 5 minutes at 180ºC/350ºF.

Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chiles…

…and soak them in cold water for at least 10 minutes.

While the chiles are soaking, chop and slice all the other ingredients.

Combine the ingredients in a blender…

…and blend as long as needed to get a fine homogeneous paste. Add some of the chile soaking water to get things going, and add more if needed.

That’s it! It keeps in the refrigerator for a few days, or for two weeks if you cook it lightly in coconut oil.


Freh green tagliatelle with ‘white’ ragù is a great dish that I will make again soon. The ragù is white because hardly any tomato is used, giving it a very elegant flavor.


25 thoughts on “Thai Red Curry Paste (Kaeng Kua)

    1. The taste is related of course, but indeed significantly different. According to Miranti, it would make a Thai person barf if you were to use cilantro leaves instead 😉


  1. You make me feel ashamed, Stefan! There you are in Holland making your own red Thai curry paste and here I am Down Under, prepping curries 3-4 times per week and that is the one and only one I have for some reason always bought 🙂 ! Got everything at home, tho’ it will have to be an ordinary lime also: so down for Monday! I absolutely love coriander and three of my potted ones have gone crazy [love the cooler weather actually!], so no problem about getting roots also – and, yes, I think they make a lot of difference. As for leaves, seem to use handfuls every day at the moment! Second day of Easter here; hope your holiday is a relaxing one!!!!!


    1. Great to hear, Eha. I really like the depth of flavor you get from fresh curry paste, and of course you also get to play with the quantities to tune it the way you like.


  2. I remember that post, Stefan, and I’m glad your tried it and shared your results. At the time, I though I’d never make it, that I’d just buy some. That was before I made my own harissa. now, I wouldn’t hesitate to make my own red curry paste. Thanks for mentioning that you used regular limes in place of kefir limes. I doubt very much that I can find them, too. I’m looking forward to your next post using this paste.


    1. It’s great how we inspire each other, isn’t it. Miranti says to add some kaffir lime leaves (which I have seen in US supermarkets) when using regular lime. There is a place where I can get kaffir limes, but it would be very environmentally unfriendly to drive 15 miles (one way) just to get a single lime.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.