Using prepackaged curry paste is so convenient and I must admit I do stocked up a few packets in my pantry. However, when my mood strikes, I will make my own curry paste from scratch and the extra effort is worth the trouble. It tastes so much better and is preservatives free! Cook up a big batch and store them in jars and they can keep in the refrigerator for weeks. Use this paste as a base for your curries, be it curry laksa or chicken curry or even vegetables curry. How easy is that?
(A) Processed into fine paste:
450g small brown onions, quartered
6 stalks lemongrass, cut finely
about 20 candlenuts
6 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
(B) Processed into fine paste:
100g large dried chillies
20g dried bird's eye chillies
30g belacan (shrimp paste), toasted (see Note below)
40g grated gula melaka (palm sugar)
zest of 2 kaffir limes
60ml fish sauce
2 tbsp light soy
5 tbsp tomato sauce (optional)
1 tbsp salt, adjust accordingly
1.5 cup cooking oil (approx)
4 blades of pandan leaves, optional
- With a little oil, lightly fry the dried shrimps until fragrant. Transfer out and set aside.
- Heat up about 50ml oil, saute ingredients (A) under medium fire for about 20 - 25 minutes.
- Then add in ingredients (B) and continue frying for about another 30 minutes. Add in fried dried shrimps and all the ingredients (D). Keep stirring until oil begins to 'separate'.
- Remove the pandan leaves. Store paste in clean, screw-top jars and keep them refrigerated.