I have always been intrigued by those jars of colorful curry pastes I have seen in the store, but have always been turned off by the price. So I decided to try making my own curry paste.There are lots of recipes for curry paste on the internet, but they are all pretty complicated, and seem destined for use in a single dish.

I wanted to come up with something that was basic and could be used in a variety of dishes. After a bit of research, here’s what I came up with.


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
  • 300 grams yellow onions, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons mild curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika


  1. Add the butter and oil to pan, and allow the butter to melt over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the onions and garlic, and heat gently. Keep an eye on them, because you do not want any browning to occur. If that happens, lower the heat.
  3. When the onions and garlic are softened, add the curry powder and paprika. Continue to cook, stirring, for two or three minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, and allow it to cool for a few minutes. Place in a food processor and reduce to a paste. Spoon into a jar and store in the refrigerator.

The Final Result

The final product.

Don’t add salt—you’ll add that when you use this in some other dish. Also, note that I’ve used mild curry powder, but you can use hot curry powder if that’s what you’re after, or you can add some fresh hot peppers along with the onions and garlic. Thai peppers would be good, but you could add serranos or jalapeños or whatever you have on hand, including red pepper flakes. If you like ginger (I’m not a fan, although there is some in the curry powder), you could add some, grated finely, along with the onions and garlic.

A word of warning: curry powder contains turmeric, which will stain everything it comes in contact with a deep, beautiful yellow color. Turmeric is used to dye the robes of Buddhist monks. It will color anything it touches yellow, including clothes, countertops, plastic spatulas, plastic containers, and you. I recommend using a stainless steel pan for this.

As for uses, you could use this in any number of recipes that call for curry paste, or even a faux-Indian style stir-fry. Or you can make a very simple, very frugal, soup with it.

June 4 Update: I was just doing some edits on this blog and I realized how completely unappetizing that picture looks. But trust me, this is good stuff.

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