Introducing my homemade Tom Kha paste, made with natural ingredients, no chemicals, just pure deliciousness. Get ready to whip it up in no time with a mortar and pestle or a food processor!
This original and authentic Tom Kha paste recipe uses two methods: one with a food processor and one with a mortar and pestle. Both are easy and have their benefits to fit all lifestyles!
For more delicious Thai soups, check out Thai glass noodle soup, Thai kabocha squash soup with baby back ribs, Thai bitter melon soup, Thai breakfast rice soup with chicken and Instant Pot Tom Yum soup.
- What is Tom Kha Paste
- Homemade Tom Kha Paste
- Why you'll love Tom Kha paste recipe
- What is Tom Kha Paste?
- Tom Kha vs Tom Yum
- Ingredients for Tom Kha Paste
- How to Make Tom Kha Paste
- Helpful kitchen notes
- What to do With Tom Kha Paste
- Variations and Substitutes
- Storing Leftovers
- Frequently Asked Questions
- More Great Recipes You'll Love
- The Culinary Magic of Tom Kha Paste
- Authentic Thai Tom Kha Paste Recipe
- Related Thai recipes You'll love
What is Tom Kha Paste
Tom Kha Paste is a lesser-known paste than all the other Thai pastes. It is crucial in creating a tasty base for the world-famous Thai chicken coconut soup called Tom Kha Gai and this vegetarian Tom Kha Soup. Make this authentic recipe using two easy methods!
Homemade Tom Kha Paste
Tom Kha paste is harder to find, even in Asian grocery stores. So, I decided to share my homemade Tom Kha Gai recipe. The paste is versatile and can be used beyond just the Thai coconut soup.
I've used it for making healthy dressings, meat marinade, and stir-frying. Give it a try, and you'll surely love the bold, sour, and herbaceous flavors!
Why you'll love Tom Kha paste recipe
- It's an easy recipe! Once you get all the ingredients from your Asian grocery store, chop them into thin slices and blitz into a paste in your food processor or spice grinder!
- Tom Kha paste is extremely healthy, and when it's fresh, there are even more benefits and nutrients to support your body and boost your immune system.
- It's versatile! You can use the paste to make soups, stir-fries, and marinate for your meat, seafood, or vegetables!
- Use your fresh paste to make Tom Kha soup, one of the healthiest and most healing soups in the world, with your fresh paste!
What is Tom Kha Paste?
The paste is an infusion of essential Thai ingredients, each contributing its unique essence to create a harmonious blend of flavors. It perfectly balances spicy, sour, salty, and sweet.
Tom Kha vs Tom Yum
Tom Kha and Tom Yum are two famous Thai soups with distinct flavors. Tom Kha is a creamy soup with coconut milk or coconut cream as the base. It’s a mild soup with options, making it easy to enjoy for those needing less spices and heat. Tom Yum is sour with spicy and salty flavors made with vegetable or chicken broth, Thai chili paste, various vegetables, and herbs.
Tom Kha is known for adding straw mushrooms, herbs, and fish sauce. At the same time, Tom Yum is a sour soup with ingredients like tomatoes, mushrooms, tamarind, chili paste, shallot, green onions, tender chicken or shrimp, galangal, and lemongrass. Both soups are delicious options for those craving authentic Asian flavors.
Make your own Tom Yum paste at home with this easy recipe here.
Ingredients for Tom Kha Paste
- 2Salt. Salt helps preserve the paste for a longer storage time in the refrigerator.
- Lemongrass: Provides a fresh, citrusy note with a fantastic flavor and texture. Learn more about lemongrass here.
- Galangal, finely chopped. Find them in the fresh or frozen section at your local Asian market. Learn more about galangal here.
- Shallot. Purple or red onion is not recommended as a substitute if you want an authentic flavor.
- Coriander seeds. Coriander seeds add an earthy texture and flavor to the paste. Learn more about different Thai spices with this post here.
- Whole white peppercorns. I highly suggest using white peppercorns instead of black peppercorns.
- Kaffir lime zest from kaffir lime peel. The fruits are hard to find even at Asian supermarkets. Substitute using kaffir lime leaves instead. You'll need 5 leaves for this authentic recipe. They are also called Makrut lime leaves.
- Fresh cilantro stem chopped small—or 3 cilantro roots, finely chopped.
- Fresh lime juice. About 1 large lime. Add more to your paste if you prefer tanginess.
How to Make Tom Kha Paste
Creating your own Tom Kha Paste is a rewarding project that guarantees the authenticity of your Thai dishes. Follow these helpful step-by-step guides to crafting this aromatic paste.
1. Easy Tom Kha Paste Method with a spice grinder
Step 1: Gather the Ingredients. Collect the essential ingredients, ensuring fresh galangal, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, cilantro stems or roots, shallot, and fresh lime juice. These can be found at your local Asian stores.
Step 2: Prepare the Ingredients. Finely chop the galangal root to enhance its flavors. Slice the kaffir lime leaves into thin strips for even distribution. Crush the lemongrass to release its fragrant oils.
Put everything in a spice grinder or a small food processor and grind until you have a smooth paste. That's it! Super easy!
2. Traditional Tom Kha Paste Method
Step 1: Pounding the spices. In a mortar, grind the ground coriander seeds and white peppercorns with a pestle until the seeds are finely crushed.
Step 3. Add shallot and kaffir lime zest or leaves and pound until a smooth and consistent paste forms. The key to making a smooth paste is not to add more than 3 ingredients to pound at one in the mortar.
Step 4: Season the paste.Add the salt and the rest of the lime juice to the paste, balancing the flavors according to your preference. Now is a good time to add more heat, too, if you prefer some.
Use ground white pepper or crushed red peppers as much as your taste bud prefers! That's it! Enjoy.
Step 5: Store Your Homemade Tom Kha Paste. Transfer your freshly made Tom Kha Paste into an airtight container and refrigerate it for future use. It will be your culinary secret to unlock the authentic taste of Thai food in your kitchen.
Helpful kitchen notes
- Never use ginger as a substitute for authentic Thai curry pastes. It will change the flavor and fragrance of the recipe entirely.
- You'll need a small food processor to make this Tom Kha paste recipe. If you don't have one, use a spice grinder to make 2 batches, then combine them in a bowl.
- Double up on the recipe; your small food processor will work great.
- Feel free to customize your Tom Kha Paste to match your preferences. You can modify the ingredients by modifying the spice, sourness, and sweetness levels.
- Experiment with palm sugar or coconut sugar for a unique twist.
- Add fresh or dried Thai chilies if you want some heat in your paste!
What to do With Tom Kha Paste
Your homemade Tom Kha Paste is versatile and can create delicious Thai dishes. Some popular options include:
- Tom Kha Gai: A creamy and aromatic Thai Coconut Chicken Soup.
- Use it as a marinade for meat or seafood before baking, grilling, or pan-frying.
- Stir-Fries: Use the paste as a flavorful marinade for your stir-fried dishes.
- Thai Curries: Add depth and authenticity to your curries.
- Use Tom Kha paste as a salad dressing by adding ¼ cup water to 2 tablespoons of this homemade paste.
Variations and Substitutes
Substitute kaffir lime zest with kaffir lime leaves instead. Never use ginger as a substitute for kaffir lime zest.
- Homemade Tom Kha Paste can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several weeks. You can also freeze it for an extended shelf life, allowing you to enjoy the authentic taste of Thai cuisine whenever you desire.
- If freezing, store the paste in 2-3 smaller batches for 1 serving rather than freezing all of it. It's easier to thaw and maximize the freshness of the paste.
Frequently Asked Questions
I don't recommend it, as dry galangal loses most of its flavors and aroma once dried. If in a pinch, you can double up on the measurements. Never use fresh ginger as a substitute. If you can't find galangal, skip it entirely.
Use your freshly made Tom Kha paste to make Thai coconut chicken soup recipe LINk, add it to your favorite stir fries like this vegetable stir fry, or use it as a marinade for your meat, seafood, or poultry for baking, grilling, or air frying.
Tom Kha paste is not supposed to be spicy as the soup is not usually spicy. However, if desired, you can add some dried or fresh chilis to your paste.
The paste will last up to 7 days, sometimes longer in the refrigerator.
More Great Recipes You'll Love
- Tom Kha Gai Recipe: Try your freshly made Tom Kha Paste in this classic Thai Coconut Soup.
- Tom Yum Soup: Explore the vibrant flavors of Tom Yum Soup, another Thai favorite.
- Tom Yum Paste: Discover how to make the perfect Tom Yum Paste for tangy and spicy Thai dishes.
- Thai red curry paste. A popular Thai curry paste is used for many Thai red curries.
- Thai red chilli paste. A versatile paste for use with stir-fries, soups, or salads.
- Thai chicken soup with rice. A tasty light rice soup with herbs and chicken.
- Vegetarian Tom Kha soup (vegan version adaptable)
The Culinary Magic of Tom Kha Paste
With your homemade Tom Kha Paste in hand, you have the power to create remarkable Thai dishes that capture the heart and soul of this incredible cuisine.
Whether you're preparing a soothing bowl of Tom Kha Gai soup or crafting a spicy Thai curry, this paste is the key to unlocking the amazing flavors of Thailand. Take your taste buds on a journey and savor the authenticity of an aromatic Tom Kha Paste. Your culinary creations will never be the same.Print
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