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Thai Yellow Curry Paste

This easy and authentic Thai yellow curry paste gets amazing results. 

Thai yellow curry paste, like the other pastes, can be used in many different dishes.

The yellow colouring comes from the turmeric. I usually use fresh turmeric because it releases more moisture and I prefer the flavour. You could use dried ground turmeric if you like.

A word of warning: if using fresh turmeric, it colours everything it comes in contact with!

Thai yellow curry paste

Thai yellow curry paste ready to make one awesome curry!

Making Thai yellow curry paste or any Thai curry paste for that matter can be a bit time consuming.

It doesn’t need to be though.

The traditional way of making these paste is to pound them in a pestle and mortar. This can take up to 60 minutes to pound into a smooth, buttery paste.

It does get the best results.

You can cheat though as many chefs of course do. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend to a paste. Done!

If you like this Thai yellow curry paste, you really should try some of these recipes too…

Thai yellow curry
Thai green curry paste
Massaman curry paste
Panang curry paste
Thai red curry paste

Thai Yellow Curry Paste

Thai yellow curry paste
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 11⁄2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 11⁄2 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1⁄2 tsp green cardamom seeds (optional)
  • 11⁄2 tsp white pepper
  • 12 dried red bird’s eye chillies, soaked in water for
  • 30 minutes and then cut into small pieces
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of galangal, thinly sliced
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh turmeric, peeled and
  • thinly sliced, or 1–11⁄2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3 lime leaves, stalks removed and finely chopped 3 medium shallots, halved
  • 10 thick coriander stalks (about 1 generous tbsp) 2 tbsp sliced lemongrass (1⁄2 lemongrass stalk)
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste


  1. Heat a pan over a medium–high heat and toast the whole spices until warm to the touch and fragrant but not yet smoking. Transfer to a pestle and mortar and pound to a fine powder
  2. Add the white pepper and pound, then add the dried red chillies and start pounding into a paste. Continue with the garlic, adding each new ingredient, up to and including the lemongrass, until you have a smooth, buttery curry paste. This will take between 40 and 60 minutes. You can also cheat and just blend it.
  3. Once you have a fragrant and smooth paste, add the shrimp paste and continue pounding to incorporate. Check for seasoning. The paste will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks and freezes very well for up to 2 months.

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I hope you enjoy using this authentic Thai yellow curry paste in your curries. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.


Wednesday 20th of October 2021

Hi Dan, the ingredients currently says 11⁄2 tsp cardamom seeds I think that should be cumin seeds, right?

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 20th of October 2021

Yes, you are right. That should be cumin seeds. Thanks for noticing! Dan

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