Simplified Thai Curry Paste (vegan)

My dear Thai friends… Please don’t be mad. I am not trying to dishonour your cuisine. I’m simply trying to make it easier for people living in the West to make something as close as possible to a traditional Thai curry paste without having to visit 5 Asian shops and your well-travelled auntie to get all the right ingredients. Of course you could just buy a curry paste, but when you’re a vegetarian or vegan it can be difficult to find a decent one without shrimp paste.

So here it is: a Thai curry paste made from ingredients you should be able to find in your regular supermarket. When you are using this paste to make a curry, I do recommend to combine it with one extra ingredient IF you can find it. Kaffir Lime Leaves. I have made loads of Thai curries over the years and I’ve found that you can substitute pretty much anything, but these leaves are the one thing that gives a curry that Thai restaurant kind of quality. If you can’t find it the curry will still taste great, it will just taste less like a traditional Thai curry. This paste is very mild because different people like a different level of heat. If you want a hot curry, just add more chilli until you’re happy with the result 🙂

Ingredients for enough paste for 1 big curry (about 6 tablespoons):

  • 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds (I love cumin so I put loads in, if you’re not a fan or subbing with ground cumin you can use 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 whole large green chillies, roughly chopped (add more if you like it hot, you can also use chilli flakes)
  • 1 teaspoon of marmite (or vegemite, don’t omit!)
  • 6 coriander stems, roughly chopped
  • Zest of 1 lime, grated (be careful not to get the white bit under the zest because it’s very bitter!)
  • 1 small thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 6 medium sized cloves of garlic, roughly chopped (this might sound like a lot but it really is just enough)
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped (shallots are even better but onion works too)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of rapeseed oil (or any other mild vegetable oil)


Throw all ingredients in a blender or food processor and run it until smooth.

Storage and tip of the day:

The paste should be able to last for 2 weeks in the fridge, but I haven’t tried that myself because it’s too good to leave 😉 The best way to keep it for longer than a few days is to freeze it, this way it should keep for about 6 months.

Thai curry paste can also be used to make other dishes. You can use it to make a dressing for a salad for example. Just add it to some lime juice and coconut milk et voila, amazingly easy and tasty Thai curry dressing!

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