Thai Yellow Curry Paste


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If you’re a curry lover, you know that all beautiful bold flavors are found in the paste. This Thai Yellow Curry Paste uses clean, fresh ingredients to create a paste that is inspired by Thai flavors yet is simple enough to make with minimal effort.

Curry is one of my favorite meals to enjoy in the fall season. Although it’s still warm in Berkeley, anytime is a good time for curry. Would you agree?


If you have food allergies, it may be challenging to find a safe brand of bottled curry paste so we make our own.  Like any from scratch cooking project, making your own Thai Curry Paste takes some effort.  We like to make a big batch and freeze in family size portions to use later for a quick and easy weeknight meal.

Many bottled curry pastes are wonderful for convenience but I’ve found that many pastes lack fresh flavor or just taste too “pasty”. Some products rely on using preservatives so that the curry paste lasts longer or will be “shelf stable”. By making your own, you can feel confident about the quality of the ingredients while knowing what is in your food.

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Is it authentic? 

This recipe relies on simple, fresh ingredients that are readily available at most grocery stores.  Most ingredients like garlic, shallots and ginger you may already have in your pantry.

I’m not an expert on Thai cooking but I’ve noticed that curry paste recipes rely on galangal, spicy peppers or kaffir lime leaves. Some of these ingredients we haven’t given to our daughter yet so they may or may not be safe for her.

Our version creates an allergy friendly paste that is free from the top 9 allergens, including sesame.

I’ve added fresh lemongrass and made a non-spicy version which also makes it family friendly. You can add the heat into your paste( see notes below) or later when cooking your curry. Our family loves it and thinks it tastes similar to a restaurant style curry we used to enjoy before food allergies.

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How hard is it to make?

Many of the ingredients used here are roasted on a sheet pan, allowing for easy clean up and prep. Everything is thrown together in a high powered blender or food processor. After an hour you are done! Ok maybe it sounds too easy but most of the prep time is spent chopping and waiting for your ingredients to finish roasting in the oven.

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How do I store Thai Curry Paste? 

To store: We divide out the paste and freeze to use in a meal that serves our family of four with enough for leftovers.  Here are some guidelines:

  • 1/2 cup paste serves 6-8 people
  • 1/3 cup paste serves 4-6 people

I love these mini mason jars to store paste which are also freezer safe. You can also use freezer bags or stasher bags.

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Thai Yellow Curry Paste

Adapted from:  A Pinch of Yum, “Easy Thai Yellow Curry Paste”  

Top 8 Free. Sesame Free. Vegan

Serving Size:  about 2 1/2 cups or 5-6 ( 1/2 pint) mason jars.


  • 1( 6-inch) piece of fresh ginger ( about 2 large knobs of ginger)
  • 4 shallots
  • 4 large heads whole garlic( not cloves, whole heads)
  • 2 teaspoons whole coriander
  • 2 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tablespoon whole black peppercorn
  • 3 teaspoon salt
  • 4 stalks lemongrass(  1/2 cup fine dice)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, leaves and stems
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • chili peppers (optional- see note below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prep aromatics: 

  • Ginger- Peel and trim ginger. Using a pastry brush, coat with oil. Wrap in a layer of parchment paper and aluminum foil. Set onto a small baking sheet
  • Shallots- Peel outer layer. Using a pastry brush, coat with oil. Wrap in a layer of parchment paper and aluminum foil. Set onto a separate medium size baking sheet.
  • Garlic- Peel papery outer layer of garlic. Trim tops off garlic heads, exposing the skin of the cloves slightly. Using a pastry brush, coat with oil. Wrap garlic together tightly in layer of parchment & aluminum foil. Set onto baking sheet with shallots.

Roast aromatics: 

  • Ginger-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roast for 10-15 minutes ( it should be soft) Tent foil. When cooled, chop in rounds. Set aside.
  • Shallots & Garlic- Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until garlic is soft and golden brown.  Shallots may be done about 10 minutes earlier so check and take out early if done.  When cooled, squeeze out garlic cloves.

Dry roast spices:

Warm a small pan on medium heat.  Place coriander and peppercorns( if using) into pan. Dry roast for 30 seconds or until fragrant.  Grind separately in a spice grinder. Set aside in small bowl.

To make paste:

Prepare lemongrass by trimming green top and root end. Peel away rough outer skin to expose white part. Pound lightly with pestle to release essential oils & break down fibers. Finely dice. You should have about 1/2 cup.  Set aside in small bowl.

Blend all ingredients together in a high powered blender or food processor. Pulse ginger, shallots and garlic. Add coriander, turmeric, peppercorn and salt. Add lemongrass , cilantro and lime together until smooth but slightly chunky.

To use:

For every 1/3 cup- 1/2 cup of paste, use 1 cup or more of liquid. We like to use a mixture of coconut milk and water.

Quick cooking method for making curry: 

  • Saute three stalks of green onion or one yellow onion with avocado or coconut oil. Saute vegetables of choice. Add paste and liquid. Add a dash of fish sauce. On medium heat, bring to a simmer. Lower and cook for 15-20 minutes or until vegetables and/or protein are soft but firm and cooked through. Add shrimp,  poach for 2-3 minutes at end. Use cubed tofu for a vegetarian version. Add a squeeze of lime. Garnish with cilantro or basil.


  • Use already ground spices although I prefer to use whole spices to bring out maximum flavor.
  • Paste will store in freezer for 6 mos-1 year or in refrigerator up to 1 week. Defrost paste night before in refrigerator or leave on counter for up to an hour.
  • Add fresh fine diced chili peppers to curry when cooking or sprinkle on top as a garnish
  • Here is more on prepping fresh lemongrass













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