One reader asked if we had looked at recipes for making homemade Thai curry paste. Well, we have. We used the following useful sources :
Seductions of Rice by Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid 1998
Thai in Minutes by Vatcharin Bhumichitr 2004
Thai Cuisine with Jasmine Rice from Eastland Food Corporation
Thai Culinary Art by Srisomboon Bhandhukravi 1993
Terrific Pacific Cookbook by Anya von Bremzen & John Welchman 1995
Thai Red Curry Paste recipes use a basic list of ingredients, and all the recipes seem to include chilies, coriander, cumin, peppercorn, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, a fishy element like shrimp paste or fish sauce, and salt. Most also include shallots, kaffir lime leaf or zest, and either cilantro leaf or root. A few add nutmeg, paprika, or cardamom.
Dry chilies are usually seeded and soaked. Dry spices are generally toasted in a skillet before grinding. Garlic and shallot are peeled and chopped before making in to a paste. The bottom 3 inches of lemon grass stalk is cut off, the toughest leaves removed, and the whole piece is then smashed with the flat side of a cleaver before the lemon grass is minced.
Shrimp paste or fish sauce must be investigated for gluten free status before using. Shrimp paste is a dry product that is dry roasted before use.
Ultimately, all the ingredients are ground to a homogeneous paste.
Based on the following table, you can see that Thai Red Curry paste is made using a fairly standardized set of ingredients, easily customized by the home cook to make a “signature” gluten free blend.
Make sure that all of your ingredients are gluten free!