Night + Market All-Purpose Curry Paste Recipe
I love this curry paste recipe - wildly aromatic and mildly spicy, with citrus and pine notes built on a garlic foundation. It's the A.P.C.P. - All-Purpose Curry Paste from Kris Yenbamroong's Night + Market Cookbook.
I'll start by telling you I love this curry paste. But, before you read any further, you need to think about where you might buy galangal. Also, if you can track down makrut lime leaves, your curry paste will be that much better for it (some stores might still label it kaffir lime).
This is the A.P.C.P. - All-Purpose Curry Paste recipe from Kris Yenbamroong's Night + Market Cookbook. It is wildly aromatic and mildly spicy, with citrus and pine notes built on a garlic foundation. I've been using it in weeknight curries, as a je ne said quoi note in every soup I've cooked this week, and as the flavor base for a number of salad dressings (in this Rainbow Chop Salad with Peanuts, for example). This recipe makes two cups, the perfect amount for using some / freezing some.
I did his vegan variation, omitting shrimp paste, seasoning with a bit of extra salt or thin soy sauce. As far as tracking down ingredients, if you have access to an Asian market or grocer, start there. You should be able to source the lemongrass, galangal, and (maybe!) the lime leaves. Check the freezer section for leaves if you don't see them fresh. I suggest substitutions down below if you get stumped by any of these.
Curry Paste Pro Tip
This is a fantastic curry paste recipe. Because of that, I recommend buying extra ingredients, because you're going to want to make more. It's a perfect red curry paste to keep on hand. You can freeze the galangal, trimmed lemongrass, and lime leaves until you're ready to use them.
Night + Market All-Purpose Curry Paste
To prep the lemongrass, you're going to want to use the tender, white part at the bottom third of each stalk. Peel back the dry, outer layers until you reach the heart. It not necessay to peel the galangal unless it's extra rough with thick peel, usually its thin enough to skip peeling. Suggested chiles: California, New Mexico, or Ancho - or a mix. You can add an arbol or two to bump the heat a bit. If you can't get lime leaves, substitute grated zest of two limes (or key lime zest). Makrut lime leaves are also, sometimes still labelled kaffir lime leaves.
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced lemongrass
- 1/4 cup roughly sliced galangal
- 10 large dried chiles (I used 5 California + 5 new Mexico chiles)
- 4 makrut lime leaves, deveined and julienned
- 1/2 cup roughly sliced shallots, peeled
- 3/4 cup garlic, peeled but kept whole
- small splash of (thin) soy sauce, to taste
- 1/3 cup sunflower oil (or prefered veg. oil)
In a food processor or blender, process the ingredients in the following order, one at a time, sprinkling with a bit of salt to help break them up: lemongrass, galangal, chiles, lime leaves, shallots, garlic, and soy sauce. Blend until each ingredient is totally incorporated before adding the next, stopping as needed to scrape down sides with a spatula. You should end up with a thick, semi-dry paste.
In a wok or skillet, heat the oil over medium-low heat until shimmering. Stir in the curry paste and cook until the oil is combined and the mixture is very fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Kris notes that this step, "helps the paste keep longer and become more hom (the Thai word for the savory fragrant aroma that happens when you toast/roast something)."
Allow the paste to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container. The paste will keep in the refrigerator for 3 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
This is the vegan version of the A.P.C.P. - All-Purpose Curry Paste from Kris Yenbamroong's Night + Market Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, 2017)
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Love Love Love Love Love this recipe so much. I took your advice and froze the galangal, the lime leaves and the lemongrass for future use. I had a question about this: when I defrosted the lime leaves, galangal and lemongrass, I had to do some stuff and by the time I got back, everything was defrosted (the lime leaves defrost like a dream!) and the lemongrass was okayish, but the galangal was weirdly colored. No longer white, it was an unpleasant mushy brown. I pulled the last galangal out of the freezer and microwaved it and it seemed fine and used that. I tossed the brown stuff. My question is, did the galangal go bad? Can it go bad? Should I have just used the defrosted stuff that I lost track of? I noticed it was refrigerated at the asian market. But ginger and turmeric generally are not - isn't that in the same family? Thanks, lots of questions it turns out.
Hi Heidi! I’m excited to make this - I’m going to try it in your winter chopped salad first. Just wondering if you soaked the chiles at all? Thank you, Aiden
HS: Hi Aiden - no soak for this one.
OK. I am trying to stay WFPB religiously for at least six months (for blood samples---osteoporosis and a break is no joke!) That allows NO oil of any kind. I have been sautéing onions etc in water, but sometimes I want the added flavor. I plan to try chickpea "juice" from the drained peas, as I have read that it is a decent egg substitute. Meanwhile, have you found any good oil replacements? I have to tell you that "'Shroom Stroganoff" and Chickpea Plovs are G_R_E_A_T! Thanks so much.
HS: Hi Shesul! You can make this without the oil, and then simmer in broth. Don't have an ringer suggestions beyond that at the time. Also, flax eggs are a decent substitute on the egg front, I do 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds whisked with 2.5 tablespoons of water. Let sit for a few minutes.
So made this curry paste and now I’m stumped! Any other suggestions for how to use? I tried the dressing with the salad to use for noodles and I think it’s a bit thin. Would love some more suggestions. Thanks.
HS: Hi Maya, you could thicken it up with a bit of nut butter (for more of a peanut noodle vibe)...I've been using it as the base for regular curries - I use like 1/4 cup in a pan along with as much nut or coconut milk & broth as appropriate. Sometimes I like a creamy, decadent curry. Other times I like it more brothy....You can put a dab of the curry paste onto lettuce leaves or spring roll wrappers as a flavor boost/accent...
Does (thawed)frozen galangal work? Also would love to see some of your riffs on veg friendly versions of his recipes. Night+Market is one Ornella my favorite Thai places in LA.
HS: Yes, frozen will work...and yes, I think a good number of the recipes lend themselves to veg takes. He actually offers up a good number of suggestions in the book. Really enjoying it!
Does (thawed)frozen galangal work?
HS: Hi - yes Maya. Frozen will work.
I also live in the Bay Area—is there a particular market you like for these ingredients?
HS: Hi Brooke - Rainbow Grocery Co-op often has a lot of these ingredients. Or many of the Asian grocery stores out on the avenues in SF...Golden Produce at Market/Duboce has the dried chiles, galangal, lemongrass....
How much shrimp paste in the original recipe?
HS: Hi Bill - 1 teaspoon. Hope you try it!