This Yellow Curry Paste recipe bursts with fresh flavors and warm, rich spices. You can whip this up inside of twenty minutes and use it to flavor dozens of different dishes.
With layers of fresh produce and dry warming spices, this yellow curry paste will enhance all sorts of dishes it's added to.
What is curry paste?
- Curry paste is primarily used in Thai dishes, and like curry powder, it's a blend of several, sometimes dozens, of ingredients.
- There are three main types of Thai curries—red, yellow, and green. The color is simply determined by the different types of chiles, spices, and herbs used. Each one also has its own distinctive flavor. (Yellow curry paste is typically more mild than red and green pastes.)
- It's a very versatile and flavorful base for a variety of Thai dishes, as well as all sorts of other creative dishes (examples below).
- Curry pastes help to develop dishes with deep, rich, incredibly delicious flavors.
Though it's not necessarily authentic, this particular recipe contains many of the ingredients in a typical Thai yellow curry paste.
What's in this recipe?
- fresh garlic
- fresh ginger
- ground coriander seeds
- ground cardamom
- ground cinnamon
- ground turmeric
- ground cloves
- brown sugar
- coconut milk
- fish sauce
- fresh Thai chiles or dried chili flakes
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
- The best way to make this is in a food processor.
- If time permits, and you have, or can get whole spices -- toast and grind them yourself. This is a lovely thing to do and the flavor will be slightly superior.
- I would suggest using this guide to cut the lemongrass.
- Amounts in this recipe should be close, but don't have to be exact.
- You can make this yellow curry paste totally mild -- just omit the Thai chiles or chili flakes. Or, use more or less if you'd like to.
- If you happen to have fresh turmeric root, you can use it instead of the ground turmeric. Use about double the amount.
How to Use it
- Curry paste is excellent to add to sauces that are used for tofu, fish, meat, poultry and vegetables. (It's especially delicious mixed into coconut milk, which is quite common in Thai cooking.)
- It's also fantastic to mix into stir fries.
- It can be added as a wet rub for sautéed fish, poultry and meats.
- You can blend a bit of the yellow curry paste into a vinaigrette or whisk it into yogurt to make salad dressing.
- I also love it blended into noodles and soups.
Recipes with yellow curry paste:
- Dutch Oven Beef Stew with Curry
- Curry French Fries with Coconut Lime Dip
- Yellow Thai Chicken Yellow Curry
I hope you try and love this recipe!
Yellow Curry Paste Recipe
- 1 cup shallots, roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup lemongrass, very thinly sliced (click here for how to do it)
- ¼ cup garlic cloves, peeled, roughly chopped (about 5 cloves)
- 3 tablespoons ginger root, peeled, roughly chopped (about 2 inches of the root)
- 2½ tablespoons coconut milk
- 1½ tablespoons Thai fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
- 1 to 2 small red Thai chili peppers, seeds removed - OR - 1-½ teaspoons dried crushed chiles
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- Blend the ingredients. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and blend until it's as smooth as possible. This may take a few minutes, and it will not be completely smooth. Scrape down the sides of the food processor from time to time, to be sure everything gets incorporated.
- Store the curry paste. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should keep for at least 2 months.
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Gorgeous post, as usual.
Thank you Kelsey!!!
I made this last night and it was delicious. i have been searching for just the right curry for months. my fave is a milder sweeter mellow yellow curry and this really nailed it!!!! i had Thai curry two years ago while visiting my daughter in Hawaii. i was in love with the flavor and have searched the internet and made so many dishes and now i'm crazy for this particular recipe!!! i am now learning more about how it all works so anyone can create a great dish whether it has chicken or fish or all vegetables. i happen to love the pumpkin and squash curry. i used a couple kaffir leaves in the pot as it cooked with the lovely paste,(it only needed a few spoonfuls of the paste) and of course used coconut milk and in the end added a little more paste and fish sauce. i had to leave a comment as i appreciate you taking the time to share such a lovely recipe with us. thank you very much, you made my day! 🙂
Thank you so very much, Sharon! What a fantastic comment -- YOU made my day! I really love pumpkin and other sweet squashes with curry, too -- it's such a great combination. I'm so happy you found this recipe and that it was such a hit. ~Valentina
This is fabulous! Pinning and Happy New Year Valentina!
Thanks so much, Kim! 🙂 ~Valentina
The homemade curry paste must have tasted particularly fresh and extra flavourful. I need to try making some myself too because the storebought one is always loaded with additives.
I hope you do try it, Angie. Thank you for visiting. 🙂 ~Valentina
I've been on a Thai curry fad for a while now, so this is great! I've never made my own yet, so no excuse now! 🙂
David Scott Allen
Thank you so much for this, Valentina. As you can imagine, not being able to eat garlic, I always need to make my own curry paste. I have yet to make a yellow curry paste, so this is perfect. It’s such a great type of condiment to have around the house. I keep small containers of red and green curry paste in the freezer and I now my curry “collection“ will be complete!
Oooh, I think everybody should have a "curry collection." Fun! This will still be delicious without the garlic.:-) ~Valentina
Jeff the Chef @ Make It Like a Man!
A friend gave me a large jar of yellow curry, and I've been looking for ways to use it, so thank you for the suggestions.