I thought I'd share a recipe that I find myself making in increasingly large batches. It's a curry paste, and I keep a small container of it, fresh, in my refrigerator. I keep backup containers in the freezer. And, I make extra to hand off to pals. Actually, let me back up a bit. Those of you who are regular readers know I tend to share a good amount of curry recipes - both here and in my books, and I often call for you to use whatever favorite curry paste you have on hand. Even if you have a favorite, I encourage you to entertain this as an option. This curry paste - it's vibrant, electric yellow in color, and intensely flavored. I tend to wing it a bit when it comes to pastes - throwing whatever I have on hand in the mortar and pestle (or, if I'm feeling lazier, the food processor), but I love a generous shallot base - and that's what you see here. To the shallot base I add lots of ginger, and garlic, turmeric, and serrano chiles. The color is amazing, and the flavor is equally vibrant. In addition, I thought it might be helpful if I share a few of the different ways I use this curry particular paste over the course of a week, so you'll see that below too. -xo h
After making a batch, the first thing I do is figure out the amount of paste I might use in the coming days. I keep that portion in a jar, and then freeze the rest. You'll love being able to grab for the frozen packet a week or two out. A quick thaw and you're good.
As far as usage goes, I think people tend to look to recipes for the exact amount of curry paste they're supposed to use in their cooking. I'd encourage you to trust yourself, and use your taste buds to guide you. When it come to curry paste, there's such a range in strength, spiciness, and flavor. The great thing about making your own, is that you can tweak and adjust over time, developing pastes that you really know and love.
Ideas: As pictured: ladled over a cooked farro, split green pea, and tri-color quinoa blend. Finished with a sprinkling of toasted walnuts, slivered green onions, and dried chive blossoms.
Whisk into eggs before making a scramble or omelette.
Stir a bit into thick yogurt with a little salt as a soup topping.
Use as the base for a simple broth - add to that noodles, seasonal vegetables, etc.
Lemongrass Turmeric Curry Paste
If you're not sure how to prepare lemongrass, just keep in mind that you're after the tender center part in the center of each stalk. Peel the fibrous layers back, and discard. Trim any tough parts at the top and tail, and reserve just the tender center for chopping. If you think your turmeric might be on the bitter side, start with less, and add more to taste.
4 lemongrass stalks, trimmed, tender center part only
6 medium garlic cloves, peeled
6 medium shallots, peeled
3 medium serrano chiles, stemmed
3-inch piece of ginger, peeled
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/4 cup good extra-virgin coconut, sunflower or olive oil
a drizzle of lime oil or zest of one lime, optional
If you're making the curry paste in a mortar and pestle, start by smashing the lemongrass, and add each ingredient from there. If you're using a food processor or blender, combine the lemongrass, garlic, shallots, chiles, ginger, cumin, and turmeric, and pulse until the ingredients start to come together. You can add the oil at this point, and blend again. Stir in the lime oil or zest. The paste will keep in the refrigerator for about a week. Freeze any paste you wont use for future use.
Makes about 1 cup.
Prep time: 5 minutes