Preparation time: Bloody Ages
Cooking time: Depends
1/2 tsp Coriander Seed
1/2 tsp Cumin Seed
5 Big DRIED Red chillies soaked in hot water for 15 mins and finely chopped. (Has to be dried chillies - fresh don't work)
1 tbsp Shallot, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp Garlic, finely chopped (use the smaller cloves as they have a more intense flavour - or just adjust accordingly)
1/2 tbsp Galangal, finely chopped (Galangal is similar to Ginger - but not as strong. If you can't get Galangal use Ginger instead)
1 tbsp Lemongrass, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Kafir Lime Rind, finely chopped (nirmal lime rind if kaffir limes aren't available)
1/4 tsp Shrimp Paste (we were told to use 1/2 tsp - but the stuff we get over here is much stronger so use it very sparingly cos it's rank!)
1/2 tsp Salt
Dry fry the coriander & cumin seed in a wok over a LOW heat. DON'T BURN THEM. Then SMASH in a mortar until it's a powder.
Chuck everything in and pound them for about 30 mins. Smash them up - don't grind it. It does take ages - but if you do it in 5 min bursts whilst doing something else it's not too bad.
*** TIP - The smaller you chop the ingredients in the 1st place, the easier it is to make into a paste***
The consistency should be a mush by the time it's finished - nothing should be distinguishable.
****Once made, the paste can be store in a jar in the fridge for 3/4 months - so it's worth doing it in bulk****
To use it:
On a low heat, put some coconut milk in a wok and add about 1tbsp of the paste and mix whilst it heats - the aroma and colour should be released. One that happens add the rest of the coconut milk (1 cup in total), chuck in 200g of meat or tofu & 1 cup of bamboo (add water if needed throughout the cooking process) and cook for about 20mins (or up to an hour if you have the time). **DON'T OVER-HEAT OR THE COCONUT MILK WILL SEPARATE**. Then add 1 tbsp of fish sauce, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1tsp stock powder (veg or mushroom - Knor if possible) and 2 Kaffir lime leaves. Cook for 5 more mins.
Turn off the heat, stir in a large handful of ripped Thai Basil. (I use Siam Queen - The only place I've found it is in seed packets at my local garden centre which i've grown myself...)
Serve over rice