GREEN CURRY PASTE (Southeast Asian, 4 cups)
5 dried Thai chiles or 5 fresh serrano chiles
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
5 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons black peppercorns plus freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus additional for blanching
1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves and stems
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ cup minced fresh galangal or ginger
1/3 cup minced garlic
3 lemongrass stalks, white part only, minced
8 kaffir lime leaves, stemmed, or the grated zest of 2 limes
½ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
1 cup medium shallots, sliced
2 cups Asian peanut oil or canola oil
1. In a small, heavy skillet combine the chiles, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and peppercorns and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until the spices start to smoke, about 6 minutes. Using a spice grinder, grind the spices fine and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, fill a medium bowl with ice water. Bring a small saucepan of salted water to a boil, add the cilantro, basil and mint, and blanch for 1 minute. Drain and transfer to the bowl of ice water. Drain, squeeze to remove as much water as possible and set aside.
3. In a food processor combine the turmeric, galangal, garlic, lemongrass, lime leaves, lime juice and fish sauce and process to a smooth puree. Add the shallots, reserved spices, the 2 tablespoons salt and the blanched herbs and process again. With the machine running, drizzle in the oil to make a paste. Season with salt and pepper. Use or store (lasts 2 weeks refrigerated).
adapted from Ming Tsai, Simply Ming