There may be no better life hack than keeping frozen tablespoons of red curry paste, like this one from Bangkok chef-restaurateur Ian Chalermkittichai, in the freezer for throwing together a last-minute dinner with a ton of complex flavor. Traditionally, red curry pastes are used with chicken, beef and roasted duck, along with vegetables like eggplant, green beans and fresh herbs. To make a coconut-based curry, heat coconut cream until the oil separates over medium heat, fry the paste until fragrant and then add coconut milk and other ingredients to simmer until cooked through.
Curry paste can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen in tablespoons and stored in an airtight bag in the freezer for a couple of months.
- In a dry pan, combine coriander seeds, cumin seeds, coarse sea salt and white peppercorns and cook over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Place the spices in a mortar and finely grind, or use a food processor and blend until smooth. Add dried red finger chili peppers, lemongrass, shallots, garlic cloves, galangal, lime zest and kaffir lime leaves and finely grind.
- Wrap shrimp paste in a section of banana leaf (or aluminium foil) and roast the parcel in a frying pan for one minute on each side. Remove shrimp paste from the parcel and set aside.
- Add shrimp paste to mortar and finely grind until smooth.