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Old 05-03-2016, 08:26 AM   #1
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How to make smooth curry paste

Hi all,

This is my first message on the forum, I hope it's on the right place!

I'd like ask for advice about making curry paste, I went to Thailand a few months ago and did some cooking lessons, we were taught to do it using a pestle and mortar but I don't have one, and also it takes a lot of work to grind all the ingredients by hand so not sure if I want to buy one only for this. (it would also take a lot of space on my already full kitchen!)

We were also told it could be done using a food processor, but I tried this weekend and I don't know if mine is really bad (it's a kenwood), but the paste comes out very rough and with lots of bits on it, and i would like it smooth.

Is there any way of making a smooth paste? I thought about using the hand blender but I think lots of paste is going to remain on the blades and will be wasted (it's very thick although I added some oil for the food processor).

Many thanks!!

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Old 05-03-2016, 08:42 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome to Discuss Cooking

Do you have a blender? I think you could purée the paste more smoothly with that.
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Old 05-03-2016, 09:01 AM   #3
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Welcome to DC.

I grind spices in a coffee grinder. You can make the spices as fine as you like. However, you must thoroughly clean the grinder after use or your coffee will taste like the spices. I grind a small handful of uncooked rice to clean it out.
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Old 05-03-2016, 09:05 AM   #4
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Honestly, a mortar and pestle is the best tool for this particular job. There's a reason they've been around for thousands of years. It's not really a single use piece of equipment. I have a molcajete that I use, on average, 2 or 3 times a week for everything from pulverizing garlic to making rubs to grinding spices. It gets more use than my food processor and is much easier to clean.

As far as taking up space, I keep mine on a shelf above the sink. I live in a small apartment, so I don't want something that's using valuable counter top real estate, either.
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Old 05-03-2016, 10:46 AM   #5
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Many thanks, I don't think i can use a coffee grinder (I don't have one either , we use nesspreso) because half of the mixture is fresh ingredientes (chillies, onion, garlic, galangal..) and I'm not sure it would fit... the spices I managed to grind them quite finely by hand using our small mortar, it was mainly the fresh ingredients the ones I couldn't mash.

Looks like the best option will be to invest on a good (and bigger) pestle & mortar!
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Old 05-03-2016, 10:53 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Steve Kroll View Post
Honestly, a mortar and pestle is the best tool for this particular job. There's a reason they've been around for thousands of years. It's not really a single use piece of equipment. I have a molcajete that I use, on average, 2 or 3 times a week for everything from pulverizing garlic to making rubs to grinding spices. It gets more use than my food processor and is much easier to clean.

As far as taking up space, I keep mine on a shelf above the sink. I live in a small apartment, so I don't want something that's using valuable counter top real estate, either.
Craig got one, a big one. It's so heavy I can barely pick it up. I'd rather pick up the biggest enameled cast iron dutch oven (one of the big oval-shaped ones) we have than that thing. So if you decide to go that route, don't get one so big and heavy you can't or won't want to move it.

We bought a combo spice/coffee grinder but just use it for spices. It was just over $20 if I remember correctly and gets a good bit of use as we grind our pepper fresh too. The 2 chopping bowls are removable for washing.

Did you chop up your fresh ingredients fairly small? I'm pretty sure Craig makes his curry pastes using either the FP or blender, and they always come out smooth. He'll have to chime in when he gets home.
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Old 05-03-2016, 02:26 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by medtran49 View Post
Craig got one, a big one. It's so heavy I can barely pick it up. I'd rather pick up the biggest enameled cast iron dutch oven (one of the big oval-shaped ones) we have than that thing. So if you decide to go that route, don't get one so big and heavy you can't or won't want to move it.
Mine is about 6" in diameter. It's a good size for me, and not so huge as to be impractical. If I were using it for something like guacamole, it wouldn't be big enough. But I mostly use mine for spices and rubs.

EDIT: this is the model I have...
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I9VQVIC?psc=1
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Old 05-03-2016, 02:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by SageAndButter View Post
Hi all,

This is my first message on the forum, I hope it's on the right place!

I'd like ask for advice about making curry paste, I went to Thailand a few months ago and did some cooking lessons, we were taught to do it using a pestle and mortar but I don't have one, and also it takes a lot of work to grind all the ingredients by hand so not sure if I want to buy one only for this. (it would also take a lot of space on my already full kitchen!)

We were also told it could be done using a food processor, but I tried this weekend and I don't know if mine is really bad (it's a kenwood), but the paste comes out very rough and with lots of bits on it, and i would like it smooth.

Is there any way of making a smooth paste? I thought about using the hand blender but I think lots of paste is going to remain on the blades and will be wasted (it's very thick although I added some oil for the food processor).

Many thanks!!
What curry are you making? This is my go to recipe for red curry paste.

Thai Red Curry Paste

Ingredients
3 oz dried New Mexico chilis
12 small hot chilis, such as arbol or Thai bird
1 Tbsp whole corriander seed
1-1/2 Tbsp shrimp paste (available @ oriental markets) This gets double wrapped in foil, about a 2" square package.
3/4 C chopped shallots or red onion
1/2 C whole, peeled garlic cloves
1/2 Tbsp minced, fresh Kaffir lime peel or Persian lime peel. I have a Kaffir lime tree.

2 large stalks lemon grass, outer leaves discarded, using about the first 3" from the root end only. Cut into thin rounds.
!/2 C finely chopped, peeled fresh galangal or fresh ginger. I use fresh galangal.

Bring a small sauce pan of water to a boil. Stem and seed chilis. Cut in 1/2 lengthwise and remove as many veins as possible. Cut halves into 3/4" strips crosswise and reserve. Stem and shake out most of the seeds from the hot chilis or leave them if you really like spicy Thai. Cut the hot chilis into small pieces. When water comes to a boil, remove from heat, add all the chilis and let rehydrate for 30 minutes.
In a small skillet toast the corriander seeds until fragrant, making sure to shake the pan to prevent burning. Transfer seeds to a small bowl to cool. Place the skillet back over medium heat and add the packet of shrimp paste, cook for about 5 minutes, until fragrant, turning packet several times. Set aside to cool. Place the skillet back over medium heat, add the shallots and garlic. Dry fry until soft and slightly browned, anout 5 minutes. In a spice grinder, process the corriander seeds to a powder and transfer to a blender or food processor (metal blade). Add the lemon grass, lime zest, galangal, shallots and garlic to the blender. Add the cooled shrimp paste. Drain the chilis, keeping 1/2 cup of the liquid. Add chilis to the blender. Blend/process ingredients until a thick, smooth paste is formed. You will have to pause to scrape down the sides. You can add a couple Tbsp of soaking liquid to assist in the processing if it appears too thick. This recipe will give you about 1-1/2 cups. It will last about 1 month in an air tight container in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. I also strain the paste through a sieve.


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Old 05-03-2016, 02:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Steve Kroll View Post
Mine is about 6" in diameter. It's a good size for me, and not so huge as to be impractical. If I were using it for something like guacamole, it wouldn't be big enough. But I mostly use mine for spices and rubs.

EDIT: this is the model I have...
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I9VQVIC?psc=1
The giant one I have is actually a molcajete and the small one has a smooth interior.
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Old 05-04-2016, 04:14 AM   #10
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I'm making Mussaman curry paste, it's similar but it has about 7-8 more dry spices, the fresh ingredients are similar.


Is it a good idea to add water to a curry paste, if afterwards it's fried?? This would make it easier on the blender but I wasn't sure how it would react when I put it on hot oil, and in Thailand they said to add oil or nothing.
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