Green and Red Curry Paste and Harissa Paste

We love curries at our place and as winter arrives they are all the more welcome on our family table. I've spent time this morning making a fresh stock of curry paste, it's a basic I like to always have on hand, ready to use in a variety of recipes. Utilising chillies and lemongrass from my kitchen garden, I doubled my recipe for green curry paste and then stored it in 6 x 1/4 cup and 10 x 1 tbsp quantities, in small airtight glass containers in my freezer. There is also my recipe for Harissa included below, a handy basic for marinades, meat rubs and vegetable stir fry, if you like a bit of red chilli heat on your tastebuds!

Curry paste is a moist blend of ground or pounded herbs and spices. It is an important ingredient in Thai cuisine, adding a fragrant, spicy and nutritional base to many dishes. Green curry paste is made with green (unripe) chillies, and red curry paste is made from ripe red chillies, which are hotter in spice and sweeter in flavour.

makes about 1 cup
what you need
4 green shallots, chopped
6 green or red chillies, deseeded
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
3cm piece ginger, peeled and sliced
½ bunch coriander (roots, stalks and leaves), roughly chopped
1 stalk of lemon grass, (remove outer layer), roughly chopped
6 fresh kaffir lime leaves
2 tbsp mild curry powder

what you do
1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Process to a smooth paste. Use as required.Note: Use green chillies for green curry paste and red chillies for red curry paste.

Storage: Curry paste will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Freeze in small recipe-sized portions.

Harissa is a hot chilli paste that is used in North African countries like Tunisia and Morocco. I use it a lot in combination with natural yoghurt, adding it to marinades, soups, lamb and couscous dishes, and as a spread on wraps and burgers.

makes about 1 cup
what you need
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
10 red chillies
4 garlic cloves, crushed
pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil

what you do
1. Dry fry the coriander and cumin seeds in a frying pan over medium heat for 2 minutes, until fragrant and lightly toasted. Cool slightly, then use a mortar and pestle to grind to a powder.
2. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor, mixing until a smooth paste forms.
3. Combine all ingredients in a food processor, mix until a smooth paste forms.

Note: For less heat in your harissa, remove the seeds from the chillies. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap after handling the chillies, as it can make for a nasty burning sensation on your skin if you touch sensitive areas such as your eyes and nose.

Storage: Transfer to a glass container. If not using immediately, cover the surface with a thin film of oil. Cover tightly and store in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.

©Jane Grover – Recipes from Jane’s cookbook ‘NAKED FOOD the way food was meant to be’