“From Nancie McDermott's Real Thai: The Best of Thailand's Regional Cooking. If you want to save time you can grind the spices and combine the rest using a food processor instead of a mortar. I have been using this recipe lately and with the exception of the fresh lemongrass (you can substitute 4 tsp dried) all of the ingredients are easy to find. I sometimes also substitute a little lime juice for the peel and green onions for the shallot. You can also roast batches of seeds ahead of time--just don't grind them until you're ready to use them.”
1 cup

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Stem the chilies and shake out and discard most of the seeds. Chop them coarsely and place in a small bowl with warm water to cover. Soak 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, dry-fry the coriander and the cumin seeds 3 - 5 minutes each over medium heat.
  3. Combine the roasted seeds with the peppercorns and grind to powder. Set aside.
  4. Chop lemongrass stalks and add to mortar.
  5. Add the cilantro, galanga/ginger, and lime peel. Pound. Add garlic and shallot and continue pounding until a paste forms.
  6. Drain the chilies and add them to the mortar. After they are ground, add the spices, shrimp paste, and salt, and continue grinding until you achieve a smooth paste.
  7. Refrigerate in a tightly covered glass jar; keeps up to one month.

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