Penang Curry Paste Recipe

Penang Curry Paste Recipe

Roasted peanuts impart a subtly sweet flavor to Penang curry paste. Sauces made with the paste have a noticeably peanut-y depth. In lieu of roasted peanuts, I often use freshly made peanut butter of the sort that oozes from those machines in the grocery store.

Adapted from The Big Book of Thai Curries by Vatcharin Bhumichitr.

  • Yield:6-8


  • 5 large red dried chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or kosher)
  • 1/2 cup shallots, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1-inch piece of galangal, finely chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, the bottom 7 inches thinly sliced
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, the bottom 7 inches thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoon cilantro roots, or 10 cilantro stalks
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, or 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon shrimp paste


  1. 1.

    Place the chilies in a small bowl with approximately 1/4 cup of hot water. Microwave the chilies in the water for 2 to 3 minutes, then let sit for 30 minutes.

  2. 2.

    Place all of the ingredients in a blender or a food processor. Purée, adding a few tablespoons of water if needed to get the mixture properly blended. Pause to push down the ingredients with a spatula. Use immediately or freeze in plastic bags.