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Thai Green Curry in a white bowl
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4.41 from 5 votes

Thai Green Curry Paste

Thai green curry paste is a spicy, fragrant curry paste that includes fresh green chilis, aromatics like lemongrass and makrut lime peel, and dried spices.
This makes about 1 cup of curry paste.
Want to adjust the servings in this recipe to make more or less? Just click on the number next to “servings” and you can easily scale the recipe.
Prep Time20 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: DIY Thai, thai curry paste
Servings: 20
Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $4.00


  • Skillet
  • Mortar and Pestle or Spice Grinder
  • High Powered Blender or Food Processor


  • 1 tsp Shrimp Paste (see note)
  • 2 tsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp White Peppercorns
  • 2 Tbsp very thinly sliced Lemongrass
  • 1 Tbsp diced Galangal
  • 1/4 cup diced Shallots
  • 3 Tbsp thinly sliced Garlic
  • 1 tsp grated Lime Peel (from a makrut lime; substitute lime zest from a regular lime)
  • 1 tsp diced Cilantro Root (sub finely chopped cilantro stem if cilantro root is not available)
  • 4 Serrano Chili Peppers (see note)
  • 1 tsp Salt


  • Place shrimp paste on a small piece of foil and then fold the foil up to form a packet that completely encloses the shrimp paste.
  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Place shrimp paste packet onto heated skillet and toast for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until fragrant. Set aside.
  • Return skillet to medium-high heat and add coriander seeds, cumin seeds and white peppercorn. Toast spices, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Grind coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and white peppercorn using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder until they form a fine powder. Set ground spices aside. (Note: if you don’t have a mortar and pestle or a dedicated spice grinder, you can also pulse the dried spices in the blender or food processor, but it may take up to 10 minutes of blending / pulsing until a fine powder forms.)
  • If using a mortar and pestle:
    Using a mortar and pestle, grind lemongrass, galangal, and salt until smooth.
    Add shallots, garlic, lime peel, and cilantro root. Grind again until smooth.
    Add chili peppers and grind once more until smooth.
    Add shrimp paste and dried spices. Continue to grind / mix everything together until even.
    If using a blender or food processor:
    In a blender or food processor, combine lemongrass, galangal, shallots, garlic, lime peel, cilantro root, chili peppers, and shrimp paste. Blend until the mixture forms a paste that still has a small amount of texture, pausing to scrape down the sides as needed. (Note: if the mixture does not blend easily, add water a bit at a time, as needed, to help it blend.)
    Add dried spices and salt and blend just until the spices are fully mixed in.
  • Taste curry paste and season with some additional salt, if needed.
  • Curry paste can be stored in the refrigerator for about 1 week or frozen for up to a year.


Shrimp paste (typically labeled as “kapi” or “gapi”) can be found at an Asian / international grocery store. It is most often sold in a jar with a good amount of oil. It can sometimes be found in firm blocks that might need to be slightly hydrated before using. Jarred or tinned anchovies are the Western equivalent and could be used as a substitute to give the curry paste the same rich, seafood, umami flavors. To make Thai curries, the shrimp paste is always roasted before cooking to release its flavor. For simplicity, we wrap the paste in foil and just toast it in a skillet before using it.
Want to make a vegan or vegetarian curry? Just skip the shrimp paste.
Serrano Chili Peppers - Traditional green curry paste is made with Thai Bird’s Eye Chilis that are very small and extremely spicy. Serrano Chili Peppers are easier to find outside of Thailand and are less spicy than Bird’s Eye Chilis. I included Serrano Chili Peppers here because I find them so much easier to work with when making this recipe. You can absolutely use Thai Bird’s Eye Chilis in this recipe, but use 10 Bird’s Eye Chilis instead of the 4 Serrano Chili Peppers listed. Another option is to use green jalapeños, in which case, use 6 jalapeños. With any type of chili pepper, you can reduce the heat by first slicing the chilis in half lengthwise and using a spoon to scrape out the seeds and pith. Choose your own adventure with the chili type and method, according to your tolerance for spice.


Calories: 7kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 126mg | Potassium: 26mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 11IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg