David Thompson's Thai Green Curry Paste (Nam Prik Geng Kiaw Wan)
Ingredients: 1 tsp coriander seeds generous 1/2 tsp cumin seeds 2 green cardamom pods, or 4 Thai cardamom pods 10 white peppercorns good pinch of grated nutmeg 20–30 small green bird’s eye chillies (scuds) – about 1 tbsp 1 long green chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped – optional good pinch of salt 2 tbsp chopped lemongrass 1 tbsp chopped galangal 3 tbsp chopped red shallots 2 tbsp chopped garlic 1 tsp finely grated kaffir lime zest 2 tsp chopped turmeric 1 tsp cleaned and chopped coriander roots 1/2 tsp Thai shrimp paste (gapi or kapi)
Method: 1. In a dry, heavy-based frying pan, separately roast the coriander, cumin and cardamom, shaking the pan to prevent the spices from scorching, until aromatic. Husk the cardamom, then grind to a powder with the coriander, cumin, peppercorns and nutmeg, using an electric grinder or a pestle and mortar. 2. Using a pestle and mortar, pound the chillies with the salt, then add the remaining ingredients in the order they are listed, reducing each one to a fine paste before adding the next. Alternatively, puree the ingredients in an electric blender. It will probably be necessary to add a little water to aid the blending, but try not to add more than necessary, as this will dilute the paste and alter the taste of the curry. Halfway through, turn the machine off and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula then turn it back on and whiz the paste until it is completely pureed. Finally, stir in the ground spices.