How to make it

  • Toast coriander seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 3-4 minutes; transfer to a spice grinder. Toast cumin seeds in same skillet just until they start to smoke; transfer to spice grinder and grind spices with peppercorns until fine; set aside.
  • With a mortar and pestle (or in a mini food processor), pulverize the chiles with the ground spices and salt until a paste begins to form. Add the lemongrass, garlic, shallots, cilantro, galangal, ginger, zest, shrimp paste, and sugar, pounding each fully into the paste before adding the next, until an almost-smooth paste forms See Photo. (If using a mini food processor, combine all ingredients and process with 1 T. water until a paste forms.) Transfer paste to a small container, cover tightly, refrigerate up to a week.
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