What’s Cooking in Kelli’s Kitchen - Red Curry Paste

  • 2023-05-19, 05:39 AM
  • Kelli Kelly
Chili paste File Photo.

One of the tactics that I regularly employ in the kitchen is to take something store-bought and kick it up a notch by adding some extra love. Making spaghetti sauce is not a binary choice between a day spent in the kitchen stirring a scratch-made masterwork or picking a jar of Ragu and dumping it into a pot. I will often meld the two approaches by classing up a pre-made sauce by adding scratch touches of my own–sauteed onions and garlic, a dash or two of soy sauce, some finely chopped anchovies, shredded carrots, a mound of fresh herbs, and ample parmesan take store-bought sauce and elevate it to the next level.

This weekend, I applied that same tactic to Thai-style curry. Neil wanted Asian noodles but no peanuts. I wanted scratch-made curry without having to break out my mortar and pestle, not to mention trying to find all of the specialty ingredients that provide the layers of flavor, some of which likely necessitate a trip to Reno. Instead, I doctored up a jar of premade red curry paste with a variety of additions, all of which were readily available at a local grocery. I added in a bounty of produce, some noodles, and a handful of fresh herbs, and dinner was done. Here are a couple of recipes that start with a pre-made product and step it up a notch.

Red Curry Paste


  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 hot chili, seeded and chopped
  • 2 T prepared red curry paste
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 T grated ginger
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, outer leaves removed and chopped
  • Zest and juice from 1 lime
  • 2 t fish sauce
  • 1 T curry powder
  • ½ T cumin seeds
  • 1 t ground coriander


  1. In a food processor, combine cilantro, garlic, shallots, chili, red curry, coconut oil, ginger, lemongrass, zest and juice, fish sauce, curry powder, cumin, and coriander. Blend into a paste, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed. If the mixture is too thick to blend, add a teaspoon or two of water as needed. 
  2. Store the finished paste in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.

Doctored-Up Red Sauce


  • 2 T butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1 c red wine
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • v1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T oregano
  • 2 T basil
  • 1 T rosemary
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce


  1. Melt butter with olive oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until browned. Add in ½ c red wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced by two-thirds (about 10 minutes).
  2. In a large pot, brown ground beef with the onion, bell peppers, and garlic stirring regularly (about 10 minutes). Add crushed tomatoes and dry spices.
  3. Stir in ½ c red wine and tomato paste. Add jarred spaghetti sauce. Bring to a simmer, stirring regularly, and let cook for about 20 minutes. Add in the mushroom mix and serve over pasta noodles.
Kelli Kelly



Comments (0)

Adding comment means accepting the rules and regulations. Vulgar, offensive content that violates the rules and regulations will be removed.

By submitting comments, you accept the rules and regulations of the portal. (company name) located  in (city) is the administrator of your personal data for purposes related to the use of the website. According to law, providing personal data is voluntary, the User has the right to access their data at all times and correct them.