Matsaman Curry Paste

Matsaman curry paste has a reputation for being one of the most complex and difficult pastes to make successfully. When well made it’s wonderful.


3 dried, long red chillies (approximately 12 cm long), stalk and seeds removed and soaked in a little hot water until soft (2-3 minutes), then chopped
1 lemongrass stalk, outer leaves removed. White part only.
2.5 cm galangal, peeled and finely chopped
5 cloves
10 cm cinnamon stick, crunched up
10 cardamom seeds
½ t grated nutmeg
6 garlic cloves, chopped. (Peeling optional)
4 Thai shallots, peeled and chopped
5 coriander roots, scraped and chopped
1 t shrimp paste

  1. Pound the first 7 ingredients in a mortar until they form a paste.
  2. Add the next 3 ingredients and continue pounding until smooth.
  3. Finally add the shrimp paste and pound to incorporate it.

Alternatively, use the blender or mincer method. See Curry Paste The Basics for details.


To store, put in an airtight jar. The paste will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge, and a couple of months in the freezer.


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