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6 dried hot red chilies, each about 1 1/2" to 2" long
2 tbsp. shallots, finely chopped, or 2 tbsp. scallions, finely chopped (white part only)
1 tbsp. garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. powdered Sereh (lemon grass)
1 tsp. ground Laos
1 tsp. caraway seed
1 tsp. coriander seed
1 tsp. fresh lemon peel, finely grated
1 tsp. salt

Thick root of a Malayan plant of ginger family. Sold in powdered form or as dried stem pieces in Indonesia or Oriental store.

Under cold running water, wash the chilies and remove their stems. Brush out any seeds that cling to the skin and break the pods into small pieces.

To make the red curry paste, combine the chilies, shallots or scallions, garlic, paprika, Sereh, Trassi, Laos, caraway, coriander, lemon peel and salt in jar of electric blender and blend at high speed for 20 or 30 seconds. Turn off the machine, scrape down sides of the jar with rubber spatula, and blend again until the mixture is a smooth paste. Tightly covered and refrigerated, the paste may be safely kept for a month or so.

To make curry green paste, substitute 6 fresh hot green chilies (each about 2" long) for the dried red chilies and omit the paprika from the recipe. Then follow the directions above precisely. Green curry paste may be covered and stored in the refrigerator for about a month.

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