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Homestead Old-School Thai Chile Paste

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The toasted cumin and coriander seeds and mint and lemon grass give this chile paste a unique, complex flavor that will be a welcome addition to any recipe using chile paste.

2 Tbsp coriander seeds
2 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 1/4 c chopped onion (about 2 small yellow onions)
40 Thai chiles, chopped
three 2-inch lemon grass stalks, with bulbs, sliced (about 1/2 c)
1/4 c peeled and chopped garlic, about 1 head
1 Tbsp dried spearmint, or 3 Tbsp fresh chopped spearmint
1 Tbsp dried basil, or 1/4 c fresh chopped basil
zest of one lime
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ham stock base (or beef stock base)
1 Tbsp dried cilantro, or 3 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
1 tsp black peppercorns
1-inch piece of galangal root, minced
olive oil
peanut oil

Toast coriander and cumin seeds in a hot cast iron skillet with frequent shaking, until seeds just begin to smoke– do not allow seeds to burn. Remove from heat and set aside.

Slowly roast, in a dry skillet over low-medium heat, chiles, onion, and lemon grass, stirring frequently until you just start to see traces of browning in the pan. Add about 1 tsp of olive oil and stir well. Add garlic and continue to roast vegetables until significant browning is seen in the pan.

Grind toasted seeds in a spice mill. Place all ingredients in a food processor and process on maximum speed for about 30 seconds, stopping twice to scrape walls down with a spatula. Continue to process, adding peanut oil 1 Tbsp at a time, blending about 15 seconds between additions and stopping to scrape walls frequently, until desired consistency is obtained.

This recipe last updated: 17 October 2004

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Last updated 15 April 2017.
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