Prik Khing curry paste is derived from the popular Thai red curry paste but with fewer ingredients. It is a drier curry paste used for the popular Thai stir-fried Pad Prik Khing recipes, a dish full of bold and exciting flavors from the use of kaffir lime leaves. So delicious and healthy!
After making this paste, you have two delicious Pad Prik Khing recipes you can use the paste for. Try these wildly popular recipes from my blog; Easy red curry green beans with shrimp and Pad Prik Khing recipe with pork belly. So very tasty!
Let's have a little Thai lesson before we get started. Prik in Thai means, chilis, and Khing mean ginger. Don't be fooled though, there's no GINGER in Prik Khing curry paste, and please don't use ginger as a substitute for galangal. (:
What Is Prik Khing Curry Paste?
The Prik Khing curry paste is made with ingredients similar to the Thai red curry paste. It has the foundational Thai curry paste ingredients like lemongrass, galangal, shallot, garlic, shrimp paste, and of course dried long chilis but no coriander or cumin seeds are used. This Prik Khing paste also uses kaffir lime leaves since most Prik Khing stir-fried recipes call for the use of this fragrant herb. The recipe is not the same without the leaves please don't skip it. (:
Pad Prik Khing stir-fries are some of my favorite curries because not only is it easy, but the distinct flavor of the kaffir lime leaves brings this dish to life!
Why Homemade Prik Khing Curry Paste?
- Prik Khing curry paste is very healthy from the fresh herbs used to make the paste.
- You can control and heat and saltiness level when making homemade curry pastes!
- Prik Khing curry paste is one of the more simple curry pastes you can make at home
- You can freeze your prik khing curry paste for up to 4 months
- The paste can be used for my very popular Easy red curry green beans with shrimp and Pad Prik Khing recipe with pork belly.
- Most, if not all of the ingredients for the paste can be found at your local Asian market!
Ingredients for Making Authentic Prik Khing Curry Paste
Below are the essential ingredients that need a little explanation and possible substitutes. To make authentic Thai red curry paste, these are the key ingredients you’ll need. Not all the ingredients are listed, check the recipe card below for a complete list. Find fresh or frozen items as best you can but stay away from dried or powdered forms when making most Thai curry pastes.
- Lemongrass. Use fresh lemongrass if possible, and only use the rounded 3-5 inches part of the stem. Make sure to chop your lemongrass into fine pieces before pounding to help speed up the paste-making. Use frozen lemongrass if fresh ones are not available to you. Read more about Lemongrass and how to use it in Thai cuisine.
- Galangal. Use fresh or frozen galangal only for Thai curry paste recipes. Never use dried or powdered galangal. Also, never substitute ginger for galangal, they are two completely different ingredients with very different flavors and fragrances. Most if not all Asian markets will have fresh or frozen galangal. Read more about Galangal in Thai cooking here.
- Kaffir lime zest. Kaffir limes are difficult to find in the US. If you can't find them, use organic lime zest plus 3-4 Kaffir lime leaves. Key limes are great for making curry pastes if you can find them. Read more about Kaffir limes and leaves and substitute here.
- Kaffir lime leaves. Kaffir lime leaves are available in most Asian markets. They are usually found in the freezer section.
- Shallot. Shallots make up a majority of most Thai curry pastes. I don't recommend substituting them with purple onions.
- Cilantro roots or stems. Cilantro with roots is sold throughout markets in Thailand. They are rare to find in the US but the next best option is the stems. The largest and lowest part of the stems works great.
- Shrimp paste. If you want authentic Thai curry paste, Thai shrimp paste is a must. The pungent smell can be hard to get used to, just ignore this part and know that it's going to elevate your curry paste.
- Cardamom. Use ground cardamom or use allspice instead for a substitute.
How to Make Authentic Prik Khing Curry Paste?
I'm going to show you how to make curry paste in two ways! One is the traditional way of using stone mortar and pestle to manually pound all the ingredients into a paste. The manual pounding of curry pastes produce stronger flavors from the oils released from the ingredients. The second is super fast and easy! Use a small food processor or blender to mix all the ingredients together until smooth paste forms, that's it!
1. Using a Mortar and Pestle
Steps one and two
- Remove the seeds from the chilis then soak in warm water for 15-20 minutes or until soft. Cut the large chilis into smaller 1-inch chunks before soaking.
- Drain, rinse and pat dry the chilis. Use kitchen scissors to cut the soaked chilis into 1-inch pieces, and place them in the mortar. Add the salt and pound together in a mortar and pestle until you form a nice paste.
Steps three and four
- Add the lemongrass and galangal and pound into the paste until smooth.
4. Add the garlic, shallot, kaffir zest, kaffir lime leaves, and, keep pound away!
5. Add the ground white pepper, sugar, cardamom, and shrimp paste. Pound everything well until nice paste forms. Remove the paste and use it immediately for a curry. Refrigerate for up to 10 days. Freeze the extra paste for up to 4 months.
2. Using a Small Food Processor
- Remove the seeds from the chilis then soak in warm water for 15-20 minutes or until soft. Drain, rinse and pat dry the chilis. Cut the large chilis into smaller 1-inch chunks before grinding.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and pulverized all ingredients together into a fine paste. A spice grinder works great too! (pictured below). Remove the curry paste for use and store any unused paste in a glass jar. It will last up, to 10 days in the refrigerator and in the freezer, 3-4 months.
Kitchen Notes for a Successful Homemade Prik Khing Curry Paste
- You can adjust the spiciness of your curry paste by the number of chilis used. The more you use, the spicier your paste will be. The smaller the chilis, also the more spicer your paste will be.
- Always remove the seeds of the dried chilis, with a small knife, before soaking to help reduce the heat of your paste.
- This is VERY important: Use kitchen gloves when handling smaller chilis like Thai bird eye chilis, especially when deseeding them. The oil of the chili seeds is extremely hot and can burn your skin for hours.
- If short on time or if you forget to soak the dried chilis, place them in a bowl with water to cover all the chilis. Microwave the bowl for 2-3 minutes then carefully remove the bowl and let it sit until you are ready to use the peppers.
- When toasting the coriander, cumin, and white peppercorn, make sure to watch the pan closely and shake it often to prevent the seeds from burning.
- Freeze the leftover paste in small portions after you are done making the paste for easy measurements for recipes.
Tools Needed for Making Homemade Thai Red Curry Paste
- A solid stone mortar and pestle with at least a 6-inch opening
- Food processor or blender (I LOVE mine!)
- Spice grinder
- Kitchen scissor. This is my favorite kitchen scissor!
- Small glass jars for storing any leftovers.
- Food labeling
A note on the mortar and pestle If you think you'd like to purchase a mortar and pestle for your kitchen, find one with at least 6 inches opening at the top. Make sure it's a stone set so the pounding will not damage it.
Is Prik Khing Curry Paste the Same as Green Curry Paste?
No, it's not the same thing. Prik Khing curry paste is more similar to Thai red curry paste than any other curry paste.
Is Prik Khing Curry Paste Spicy?
You can make your Prik Khing curry paste as spicy as you'd like! Homemade curry pastes are great for this reason, you can control the heat of the paste by the amount of chili used.
What does Prik King Taste Like?
Prik Khing curry paste tastes similar to a Thai red curry paste bought in Asian markets. However, your homemade paste will have a stronger taste and smell than store-bought pastes because the ingredients are fresh and bold. Pad Prik Khing recipe is a lesser-known Thai curry but once you've tasted it, it's really hard to forget.
Other Thai Recipes You'll Love
- Easy red curry green beans with shrimp
- Pad Prik Khing recipe with pork belly
- Authentic Thai red curry recipe
- Authentic homemade Thai red curry paste
- Thai curry with chicken and kabocha squash
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