Thai Penang Curry Paste

Curry pastes from Thailand. From left: Red, Green, Yellow, Penang / Penaeng and Mussaman / Massaman.

Thai Penang Curry Paste

Penang curry paste is one of the five core curry pastes from Thailand that I am going to describe on Cookgypsy. There are innumerable other curries, but for the sake of being able to cross reference recipes for now I am going to include the core groups that most Westerners are familiar with.  Red, green, yellow, Penang / Penaeng and  mussaman / massaman. 

Ingredient info: Look for chiles de árbol, guajillo chiles, and lemongrass at better supermarkets. Galangal and kaffir lime leaves are sold at Southeast Asian markets.


  • 2 dried chiles de árbol, stemmed
  • 2 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed
  • 2 fresh lemongrass stalks, bottom 4" only, tough outer layer discarded, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons roasted peanuts
  • 2 chopped peeled fresh (or frozen, thawed) galangal
  • 6 fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 fresh serrano chiles, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper


  1. Place dried chiles in a medium bowl; cover with hot water and soak for 15 minutes. Drain; place chiles and all remaining ingredients in a mini-processor; process until paste forms.

Can be made 2 months ahead.

Store airtight in freezer.