This vegan green curry paste is made from a blend of Thai spices, hot peppers, and plenty of basil and cilantro. It whips up easily in minutes and can be used for seasoning your favorite Thai curries.
This is my third Thai curry paste recipe on the blog, and it seems like with this post I’ve at least gotten the really important ones out of the way. By “really important ones,” I mean the big favorites. I had to at least get those covered. After I posted a recipe for massaman curry paste (my favorite), I got a bunch of requests for red. So I posted red curry paste, and then got a bunch of people asking for green. I guess we’re a divided bunch when it comes to curries.
Curry paste is a great thing to have around. A few spoonfuls pack a ton of flavor and are key to some amazingly delicious and easy to prepare meals. (Hint: check back tomorrow.) And yes, you can just go out and buy pre-made curry paste at the store, and I do that myself pretty often, but I like to make my own whenever I can, for a few reasons.
First, vegan and vegetarian curry paste can be tough to find. Many store bought varieties contain shrimp paste or fish sauce or something like that. Also, I just like making stuff. It’s fun to produce something in your own kitchen and feel all proud that it tastes just like that thing you got at a restaurant and were so impressed with. Finally, and this may be the most important reason when we’re talking about the green curry that’s the subject of today’s post: customizability.
The main feature that most people seem concerned with customizing is the heat level. I’ve had people ask me how to tone down the heat in my red curry, and unfortunately, since a good deal of red curry paste’s volume comes from dried chilies, that’s not such an easy task. Massaman is a bit easier, but still calls for those pesky red chilies and gets a good deal of flavor from them. Green curry, on the other hand, while usually pretty hot, stands out in my mind for it’s green flavors: cilantro, basil, lime. Green peppers go in there too, but you can play around with the amount and variety, and this recipe gives you some options. For my batch, I went with a mild version, using just three jalapenos, because I my husband, who I rely on for taste testing, isn’t into the heat. For a hotter variety, up the number of peppers and/or go with a hotter variety like serrano or Thai chilies.
The other way you can customize this green curry paste is by making substitutions, which I’ve given suggestions on. If you can get your hands on some galangal and kaffir lime leaves, please do, because they really do make a difference. If you can’t, go for regular old ginger and lime peel. It’ll still taste good.
Vegan Green Curry Paste
- 4 garlic cloves
- 3-6 jalapenos Thai chilies or serrano peppers, seeded and stemmed (wear gloves!)
- 2 shallots
- 2 kaffir lime leaves or 2 tsp. lime zest
- 1 lemongrass stalk coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cup fresh cilantro stems and leaves, packed
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves packed
- 1 tbsp. grated galangal or sub ginger
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tbsp. kaffir lime juice or regular old lime juice
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
- Place all ingredients in food processor and blend to a paste, stopping to scrape down sizes of bowl as needed.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.