3 large dried red chile peppers - New Mexico, Anaheim or Pasilla
10 small dried red chile peppers - Chiles de Arbol or Chiles Japones
1/2 cup shallots or onion (1 small)
1/4 cup garlic
1 tbsp galanga root1
1 tbsp ground coriander*2
1 tsp cumin*
1/2 tsp pepper*
1/2 tsp salt
Stem and seed the chiles. Tear them into small pieces and put them into a small bowl. Cover with hot water and set aside for about 30 - 45 minutes.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a food processor along with the chiles and 1/4 cup of their soaking water. Puree. Add additional soaking water if necessary if the paste is too thick.
Remove to a small jar or a freezer container and cover tightly. Keeps in the fridge for about 3 weeks and in the freezer, 3 months. Don't forget to label it with the name and date so you don't forget.
Substitute 1 1/2 tbsp ginger if you can't get galanga. It's very strong and very hard - I grated it straight from the freezer using my Microplane grater, which seems to be the most efficient tool for this job.
You should be able to find ground or whole coriander at the same Hispanic market or section as the chiles.
The author notes that you can add any or all of the following to make this even better: 2 tbsp fresh lemongrass; 2 tbsp cilantro roots, stems or leaves; 4 wild lime leaves
Ingredients marked with a * can be omitted to make gaeng kua curry paste. (Red curry paste with these ingredients is called krueng gaeng peht, according to the book.)