- First, we are going to roast the garlic and shallots with in their skin. In Thailand, the garlic and shallots are buried in a charcoal stove, in the hot ashes. But we’ll be doing this in the oven! Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400˚F.
- Place the garlic and shallots on a baking sheet and roast them until they are charred and all soft, about 30 minutes.
- Let the garlic and shallots cool and peel them.
- Cut the chillies into big pieces and lose the seeds.
- Slice galangal into fairly thin pieces for easier grinding.
- Slice the lemongrass thinly for the same reason. Use the bottom half, as usual.
- In a pan, over medium heat, toast the chilies and lemongrass until lightly brown, for about about 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Add the rest of the spices, apart from the garlic and shallots and toast them for about 2 minutes until fragrant. Remember to move them around in the pan for even toasting. Remove from the heat.
- I prefer to do everything in a chopper for convenience and have been doing so for years but use a pestle and mortar if you wish.
- We pound or chop in this order: chillies and salt until they are roughly chopped or pounded.
- Add the lemongrass and pound/chop until the lemongrass is roughly ground.
- Add all the other spices, apart from the garlic and shallots.
- Pound/chop until fairly fine. If you are using a pestle and mortar, it may take up to 30 minutes!
- Finally, add the roasted garlic, shallots and shrimp paste and pound/chop until you have a smooth paste.
- Store in a sterilised jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- Can also be frozen for up to 6 months.