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Thai/Malaysian curry pastes

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Im going to post a selection of recipes Ive used & adapted over the last 20 years.They are authentic a bit time consuming but worth the trouble if you like that style of food. If the ingredients throw anybody just post & I will do my best to help.

post #2 of 20

Sounds great! Love me some curry!

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 

Ok this is without photos Im at work ,lucky Im the boss! For me the thing that sets Thai curry pastes apart is ingredients like,lemongrass,galangal,fresh turmeric, tamarind paste,kaffir lime leaf,red shallots & shrimp paste/fish sauce.. We call cilantro coriander whatever you call it use the entire bunch especially the roots. I use young ginger,less fibre more juice. If you see one of these recipes that has galangal but you cant get it just use ginger. Galangal is a good thing but tough /fibrous & hard on blades,grating it on one of those whizzbang new age graters will help.Fresh turmeric might be hard to get in the midwest,so use powdered.Frozen is fine. 

Shrimp paste,the new age stuff is much easier to work with. The old school stuff that you wrap in al foil & grill stinks so bad dogs leave the room, buzzards start circling your houselaugh1.gif As a big goofy country town kid at College in 1978 I couldnt understand how anybody could eat something that smelled that bad. I use a brand here called Pantai fermented shrimp paste in soya oil.It has a yellow lid,its got a bit of msg in it but its got to be better than the old school stuff that comes as a block. Use that if you get stuck but send wife down to mall open all the windows.

 This is 2 recipes in one that I used to cook 15years ago & found in my cookbook last night. You need curry powder,sounds contradictory but it cuts down on time & when you get a feel for what you like grind your own spices accordingly. We can buy curry powders here for different meats,so there will be a mix for seafood ,chicken so on. We get a lot from the Indian community in Fiji.Really if you can get a good quality powder go with it. BUT watch your heat,Use a mild to start.

 OK "batter up " is the expression isnt it?

1 cup small green chilli finely chopped,500gm of red shallots ( pictures in rendang thread) red onion will do,finely chopped,5x stalks lemon grass white part thinly sliced 400gm chopped ginger 200 gm chopped garlic 50gm fresh turmeric chopped 100 gm tamarind paste .6 x tablespoons fairly fragrant seafood curry powder 50gm palm sugar 100ml lime juice.6x tbs Thai fish sauce ,1 fat tabs shrimp paste,1 cup crushed candlenuts, or substitute cashews/macadamias This is the 1 bit in this recipe that throws me a bit because I  dont remember candlenuts. 6tabs vegetable oil.

You could just whizz it in FP.

Saute ,garlic,curry powder chillis in oil few minutes,add shallots cook 1 min add everything else except candle nuts cook 10 min gently,then fold in crushed candle nuts. Refrigerate.

You know have a pretty authentic seafood curry paste.

NOW select seafood,say 16 big shrimp or 600 gm firm white fish in cut into chunks or just work it out yourself. 2x spring onions,small green bell pepper  chopped 1 long thin thai eggplant or similiar thinly sliced 2xtabs lime juice ,3x kaffir lime leaf chopped 1 bunch of cilantro including roots chopped 200 ml coconut milk 2tbs veg oil 4 x tabs of your curry paste or to taste. 

 Saute curry paste LIGHTLY PEOPLE then add onions,eggplant,bell pepper saute a minute then add coconut milk,snipped lime leaf/juice saute 1 minute THEN  add seafood simmer gently,THIS IS NOT A STIR FRY 439.gif GENTLY then add cilantro .Take off heat rest a minute then your done.

Let me go back to check on candle nut biz. More later,back to work enjoy. Any questions just post in this thread.I will put red curry paste in next time.


post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 

Candlenuts must be cooked not eaten raw,substitute macadamia or cashew unroasted. You could leave it out altogether or substitute coconut  flakes out of rendang thread.Candlenuts are a thickening agent more than a taste ,oily as well.. You will note no salt in that recipe. Fish sauce,shrimp paste both salty so leave it out. Those small green thai chilli pack some punch,Thai s here call them scuds after the missile.th_violent5.gif

Tamarind also comes in blocks that you soak squeeze then use liquid. Its the sour taste in a lot of that food that is then balanced by palm sugar. I think thats everything.biggrin.gif

post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 

The shrimp product I remember is belecan,Thai shop assistant "I would never heat that inside in my own house. We wrap it in foil heat it on BBQ in backyard"jaw-dropping.gif Ill be using the un smelly version thanks.

Fish curry powder from Malaysia  serbuk kari ikan dan udang huh.gif but contains coriander,chilli,cumin,fennel,fenugreek,black pepper,nutmeg, other spices? You can make your own by grinding spices from whole but theres nothing wrong with products like this if you are just doing curry now & again. The fresh ingredients are the real secret,for these Thai/Malaysian pastes.

post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 

Picture is tamarind concentrate in blue/red,coconut juice drink if you want to 50/50 it with coconut milk to cut back fat,scuds in green,no red available at  realistic $ at moment,shrimp paste,non smelly, & curry powder for sea food. Might help when you are wandering the aisles looking for stuff.IMG_0598.JPG

post #7 of 20

Never had anything with curry in it...Sounds great..Always good to have different stuff...

post #8 of 20


post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 

 Chef Jimmy J .Im a taste, feel,eyeball cook,not going to change. If I was making red curry paste from scratch I would do this same as I  do for my signature Yellow Peril ,pick some units of measurement then work off those proportions. So if I  started with as cup of chopped hot red chilli( birds eye in thai or scuds) I would want a fat cup of chopped ginger/galangal/ &  chopped garlic . Maybe a cup & a half. A FULL  cup red shallots ,(indispensable) .If your chilli is really hot bump the other ingredients. 5 sticks lemon grass,3-4 bits of fresh turmeric the size of your middle finger, 8-10 x kaffir lime leaf central rib out cut fine,zest & juice of 4-5 limes, bit of palm sugar 1/2 size of  a deck of cards. A 1/2 shot glass  thai fish sauce. 4-5 fat tabs shrimp paste, shot glass+ of tamarind concentrate liquid. One BIG bunch cilantro,leaf,stalk,roots. Whizz this in a FP. TASTE realistically how hot is it? How sweet is it?Is it balanced.Its about hot,salty,sweet ,sour,fragrant.

OK  now dry spice pick a unit, 2 tabs,cumin,coriander,fennel,fenugreek, 1 tab black pepper,1 tab of rock salt to help the grind. Grind add to mix with veg/nut oil whizz to get paste. If you couldnt get fresh galangal 2 teaspooons dried = 1 tablespoon fresh,maybe the same for fresh turmeric I honestly dont know. Theres other spices,paprika ,cardamon ,cloves but I think they get lost & dont add much.Yellow/black mustard seed yes icon14.gif but its straying away from Thai.

Thats it. Its now the starter for your curry,the only thing you can really do wrong is burn it.Add paste fry gentley add fish/seafood ,chicken ,color then add coconut milk or coconut juice drink 50/50 simmer. Bit of chopped cilantro/coriander at end. Veg is up to you,onion sure,bell pepper, thais love their eggplant but who am I  to say.

Hope this answered your question. Can I  just say this,my friend Pontip pioneered Thai groceries in this city. She also did the flowers for my wedding(2) She is in the Sydney Good food guide Hall of Fame, magazines,TV shows because she started in this towns food biz in the late 70s. And shipped the stuff that Aussies ate on holidays in Thailand. She sold all sorts of Thai curry pastes in her shop but only used mine in her own kitchen cooking for her own family .She said "I cant make this as good as you make it in the time Ive got" Im a fairly modest guy but thats a pretty big compliment.ENJOY .If you got questions ask.

post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 

PS if you are going to keep this any length of time ,blitz garlic with salt to stop the risk of it fermenting.

post #11 of 20
You should start your own distribution business! That way I don't have to order all the ingredients online! You could bottle your pastes and sell them!

post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 

I used tobiggrin.gif got to big a hassle,went back to barter economy.I do it when I  feel like it & give it to who I  want when I want.If it wasnt for those pesky custom guys Id send you some.

post #13 of 20

Thank you my Aussie Friend...For the local boys, the ingredients are all available in Asian Groceries and for the most part the proprietors are amused when Non-Asian Customers come in and bend over backward to help you find what you need and answer questions...If you have to order on line these guys have good prices with reasonable shipping compared to some...JJ




Just a note I thought may be helpful:

Tamarind comes in a block of ground seeds frequently labeled Tamarind Paste that is soaked in hot water then stained to remove the seeds...In the recipes above the Tamarind Concentrate in the picture is ready to use, If I'm correct, (Help me out here Moikel) the 1/2 Shot Glass (1Tbs) should work in either recipe if the mix needs more Sour to balance add 1tsp more or as needed.


Lemongrass comes in stalks that are pale green or white at the base and get thinner an darker in color toward the end. You need to peel off the outer 2-4 layers to get to the Heart, the white 3-4 inches at the base...The Heart is the only Edible part, the the rest is tough enough to be woven and used to tow a Tank!


Edited by Chef JimmyJ - 11/4/11 at 12:27am
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 

Good advice Jimmy,lemon grass is tricky,hard on food processors so chop first or for broth/stock just bang the #@# out of it with back of cleaver & throw it in pot fish it out whole at end. 

If anybody has any questions just let me know or if you want something else & think I might be the guy Im only to happy to help. I do a satay marinade & satay peanut sauce for grilled chicken ,& a bunch of other stuff,green papaya salad .My office is on the edge of this countries largest China town( more Asia town now) so ingredients not an issue. Lot of stuff shipped from our tropics ,lot of really good Thai food here. ENJOY

post #15 of 20
Originally Posted by Moikel View Post

Good advice Jimmy,lemon grass is tricky,hard on food processors so chop first or for broth/stock just bang the #@# out of it with back of cleaver & throw it in pot fish it out whole at end. 

If anybody has any questions just let me know or if you want something else & think I might be the guy Im only to happy to help. I do a satay marinade & satay peanut sauce for grilled chicken ,& a bunch of other stuff,green papaya salad .My office is on the edge of this countries largest China town( more Asia town now) so ingredients not an issue. Lot of stuff shipped from our tropics ,lot of really good Thai food here. ENJOY

Think you might be the Guy!?!...Dude you are the Man! I have done some research on Thai Curry Paste and these are Awesome...JJ


post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 

Jimmy J & others.Im all about the sharing,& Im an open book,if Ive got something down hereaussieflag.gifits yours. Sydney is a place where students, in particular, came to from S/E Asia to go to Uni . They stayed prospered brought their food,my friend Pontip came from Thailand as a home economics teacher in 70s went to Uni here,married an Aussie had 4 beautiful kids ,got divorced ,went into food biz.She was a real pioneer from a little shop in Chinatown ,she had stuff that NOBODY else had .Her shop was 5 min from my office we became friends, we were kindred spirits sort of & she shared everything she knew about food,bit of Buddhism ,anything.Her brother was a General  in the Thai army.

So in the spirit of sharing this is a recipe that Ive kept aside since I  first saw it on TV  years ago. Its Malaysian, that combo of Malay,Chinese,Indian that has great food,Nonya stuff in particular .Its by a chef named Alvin Tan, who is really the man when it comes to Malaysian food,seriously the man.

So here goes as its written in the cookbook that went with a truly great TV show on our ethnic TV  network. Its Alvins not mine I  dont mess with it neither should you,just (if it interests you) follow the recipe. Make it as per then see how you feel about it.You can play with the chilli.

For 4 serves.1 & 1/2 cups water 1/2 tab tamarind pulp(mix with 1/4 cup water) 400 gm chunky white flesh fish.6 okra 1/.2 tomato quartered 1 thin eggplant cut into wedges. 1 red chilli split length ways 1 green chilli split lengthways 150ml coconut milk 

Part A

5 tabs oil 1 onion thinly sliced 3 cloves of garlic thinly sliced 1/2 thumb size ginger grated,1 sprig curry leaves ( might be hard to get) 1 star anise 1 inch stick cinnamon 3x cloves 1 teaspoon black mustard 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds .

Part B

1/2 red onion pounded fine 2 x tabs fish curry powder(see earlier )mix to a paste with a little water 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder.

Heat oil in wok fry part A until onion soft add part B fry couple min Add coconut milk,water,tamarind liquid.Bring to boil,add fish,okra ,tomato,eggplant simmer till fish cooked add sliced chillis .Plate up,garnish with those crisp fried shallots from Asian stores,cilantro ,chilli.

Now you might want to use 4 fish cutlets or fillets,but you want thick hefty fish do you guys have ling cod ? No reason you couldnt change it to prawn/shrimp.

You can see  its a little different from Thai,got that Nonya/Chinese feel star anise ,cloves,black mustard. I change .adapt a lot of recipes I DONT mess with this I just make it the way that I  just it set out. ENJOY.

post #17 of 20

Holy Smokes Mick, that is all over the Asian continent!...So many combinations of flavor! It's going to take a little longer to source the ingredients but it's a must try, Thanks...JJ

post #18 of 20


Thanks for the recipes and please keep them coming.

post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 

Your welcome,its black mustard  SEED, in that last recipe. Ill post stuff that I  know works.I  like Malaysian a lot but it can be a bit hot for the wife. We have a long history with Malaysia & their food got a space here with city office workers as far back as the 70s. Its a combination of malay,chinese & Indian that also has regional differences.Malacca Straights is a bit different to Penang bit different again from big city Kuala Lumpar. The label Nonya is used to describe the cooking that came from the fusion of malay & chinese its my personal favourite.

Im sure theres a way that some of this can become part of rub for things going into the smoker.

post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 

Im happy to post non smoked stuff in this section if thats OK with the admin. If its a grilled dish,say prawn paste on sugar cane skewer s or grilled over charcoal stuffed small squid,chicken satay grilled with peanut sauce or similiar I  will put it in those sections. 

Curries,sambals & rendangs,green mango salad I will leave here. Can somebody senior let me know if thats OK.

I will Qview stuff. Given that we are moving into summer it will have that feel because I am very much a seasonal cook. My good friend Carlo who has butcher shops is now semi retired with a farm about 3 hours away,he told me on saturday that he has capretto(young goat) & free range old breed suckling pig coming down soon.

Its also the time of year for squid ,octopus,cuttlefish, & a whole bunch of fish.

I was also thinking that the next time I  go to a full blown maori hangi ,umu if your Samoan that I  might post photos of that. Its that Polynesian cooked on hot rocks under ground deal. Maori's have trouble getting the right rocks here,too sandy, so they substitute huge heavy link chain or bits of railway track.Or they stockpile rocks they get from out of Sydney,basalt mostly. If that fits within the parameters of the forum.

If thats an issue can somebody let me know please?

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