Before I jump into this easy recipe for my Thai Yellow Curry Paste, I gotta dump some real life-ness for a second.
One of the things that is really important to me here is turning dietary needs on their head. Instead of thinking of them as limitations, I try very hard to look at them as an opportunity.
An opportunity to try new things in the kitchen, an opportunity to look at favorite old recipes in a new way, an opportunity to create self love through showing myself that I’m worth the time and effort of something both nourishing and delicious.
With all that said, I also struggle. Sometimes I don’t want to cook another damn meal – and, you guys, that’s my job. There are days when I’m so emotionally and physically spent that the idea of going back into the kitchen that day is enough to make me say, “I quit” and “well, I guess I’ll have this apple and some GF crackers for dinner”. Some days, I can’t even be bothered with that. I’m by no means perfect.
Other times, I know that I want and need and will feel so much goddamn better about myself and my life if I don’t go to bed both grumpy and hungry. But the idea of making an entire meal from scratch is just so uninspiring when I’m in that “burn it all down” kind of mood after a day at my desk.
And that’s where I’m a big fan of what I call flavor makers, like this Thai yellow curry paste.
I’ve written a bit before about how I use batch made sauces, dips, dressings and condiments to span the gap between meal planning (hate: doesn’t always work for me since so much of my food IS my work, either) and actually eating meals. (I also talk a bit about how I like to reimagine leftovers into meals over on the Autoimmune Wellness podcast here.)
One of the main tricks in my arsenal is to always have one or two things in my fridge at any given time that I can add to a plain ol’ protein plus vegetables meal to add some flavor and fun, without me needing to have to really overthink things. This is especially helpful for me because I live an hour away from most grocery stores!
This Thai yellow curry paste is one of my favorite things, not just because it’s easy, punchy and keeps well in the fridge. But because it also gives me a little food fun back: when you can’t have nightshades, in the beginning, it feels like you can’t really do any non-plain-American-food ever again.
So to be able to keep a jar of this around, for me, is also strangely soothing and comforting. It reminds me that there’s always a way to make things work, a way to overcome food challenges, a way to adapt to any situation and make it a teeny bit better at a time.
Even if that starts with a nightshade free Thai inspired curry on a weeknight.
Wanna know what to do with your nightshade free Thai yellow curry paste?
- add it to coconut milk & broth to make an aromatic soup base with the protein & veg you have to hand.
- fry up in a little oil and then coconut cream until it separates. Add chicken and simmer to make a simple curry base & serve over (cauliflower) rice.
- whizz up into a vinaigrette by adding oil and lime juice or white wine vinegar (or both) and a dash of honey.
- add to broth for steaming fish or other seafood, try it with my Thai Clams recipe.
- mix up with additional oil and / or coconut milk for a marinade that’s lovely with chicken or shrimp.
And one last thing: as you can see, apparently I just couldn’t help myself, so I also made a couple different variations on this theme, with nightshade free versions of both Thai Red Curry Paste and Thai Green Curry Paste recipes coming soon!Print
Nightshade Free Thai Yellow Curry Paste
This take on Thai yellow curry paste is nightshade free, but packed with aromatics & umami. Make it ahead of time & enjoy curry dishes whenever you like.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 1 cup / 240 g / 16 tablespoons 1x
- Category: flavor makers, seasoning
- Method: no cook
- 2 oz / 57 g minced shallot, about 1 medium
- 3 tbsp / 45 g grated fresh ginger
- 2 tbsp / 20 g minced fresh lemongrass
- 2 tbsp / 20 g chopped cilantro stems, not the leaves
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tsp / 10 g coarse sea salt
- 2 tbsp / 30 ml avocado oil
- 1 tsp / 5 ml gluten free fish sauce
- 1 tbsp / 6 g galangal powder or ground ginger, see notes
- 1 1/2 tsp / 3 g ground turmeric
- 1 tbsp / 3 g dried cilantro leaves, not to be confused with coriander seed
- 1 tbps / 3 g dried Thai basil, can substitute dried Italian basil
SMOOSH: Add the minced shallot, grated ginger, minced lemongrass, cilantro stems & garlic and the coarse salt to a wide mouthed Mason jar or the container that came with your immersion blender. Use the immersion blender to roughly chop & mash up the aromatics until you have a rough mixture. Add the oil & fish sauce, then continue to blend together into a not-completely-smooth paste. Add the galangal or ginger and turmeric, then blend together until you have a thick but not lumpy curry paste mixture. Add both the dried cilantro & basil, then pulse to combine so that the curry paste is bright yellow, with some green flecks throughout. For a smoother texture, you can also make this in a smaller food processor or Vitamix – the method is the same, adding the green herbs at the very end to keep the brightest yellow color.
STORE: Transfer the finished paste to an airtight, sealed container like a mason jar and keep in the fridge for up to 2 months. (Yes, I have tested this!) Alternatively, spoon the paste into an ice cube tray & freeze until solid. Then pop out the cubes and keep them in a freezer bag for up to 6 months.
USE: For the best flavor in your dishes, fry up the Thai yellow curry paste in a little oil until fragrant as the first step in your curry making endeavors!
Galangal powder has a flavor similar to ground ginger, with a little more heat and a hit of peppery spice. It’s a lovely addition to your AIP pantry if you’re missing spice & heat, but if you can’t find it, feel free to substitute dried ginger instead. The fresh ginger in the recipe brings that lovely aromatic brightness, while the dried ginger or galangal powder brings a more concentrated heat.
I’ve come across some dried galangal that is cut with a lot of salt, so if that’s the case with yours, omit the salt from the recipe above and then season to taste. Remember, since you’re making a concentrated flavor booster in the paste, it’s meant to be a little salty when you taste it on its own.