My Story

July 26, 2016 8 Comments

The author with plate of Som Tam

I grew up in a small village in the north-east of Thailand. Our methods of preparing food were very traditional and I was set to work with the mortar & pestle from a very early age. We would grow most of our ingredients ourselves, raise our own chickens and catch fish in the nearby rivers or rice paddies. Supermarkets had yet to make an appearance and what shopping we did was in local markets.

Although many things have changed since then, a lot of the values remain the same. We have supermarkets selling fresh food and canned goods but the ready-made meals we are so used to seeing in the UK don’t really exist in Thailand. The abundance of cheap eating places and street food is truly astounding, it’s often far more expensive to assemble the ingredients to cook yourself a meal than it is to stop off at a food stall on the way home and pick up a very satisfying dinner. My idea of Thai heaven is to be sitting in a bustling street food area watching the chefs juggling the woks over huge gas burners and creating an amazing variety of dishes, you can keep the beaches!

All that changed when I came to the UK and found out that street food usually consisted of a dodgy hot dog and that Thai restaurants were not only expensive but much westernised. I have a real problem with that, I remember reading a food critic’s review of a restaurant saying “You westernise Thai food and it loses its soul”. How true that is. I’m not just talking about cutting down on the spiciness either but the general muting down of the tastes essential in Thai food, the sour and the sweet and the salt and the spicy that should balance each other.

It wasn't long before I realised that I was going to have to make my own curry pastes to recreate the taste of home. Living in London I was fortunate in that I was at least able to obtain the ingredients in places like Chinatown, sometimes with difficulty, for example it can often be difficult to get hold of enough Coriander root. Coriander easy, but in the UK you mostly find the roots have been cut off, duh, you throw away the best bit!

You’re probably thinking by now that I’m a little short sighted as I must have missed the tubs of Thai curry paste on the shelves in Chinatown and increasingly now in supermarkets. Not at all, I had even seen TV programs about them in Thailand and what a successful export product they were. In fact they export nearly all their production because in the picture below you can see how we buy our curry pastes in Thailand when we are not making them ourselves.

Curry pastes for sale market stall Thailand

You’re looking at freshly mixed pastes. At this stage they are still a work in progress as they are uncooked. We then take them home and cook, continually adjusting the taste with fish sauce or chillies, shrimp paste etc to our own personal taste before adding our meat, fish or vegetables. It’s in cooking the paste where we achieve that final balance of the tastes we need in Thai cooking. For me this is where the factory produced pastes fall down, if you are going to cook with lots of fresh ingredients (not that I am saying they do) you need to be constantly tasting the paste and balancing it as you cook. You can't just cook to a formula, the levels of spiciness, saltiness, sweetness, sourness,change constantly with fresh ingredients. I think this applies to any style of cooking but probably never more so than in Thai food where we are trying to achieve harmony between different ingredients that "logic" tells us shouldn't even be in the same cooking pot.

I prepare and cook these pastes carefully balancing the taste in the hope that you can experience how Thai food should really taste. Hope you enjoy them!


PS. Many thanks to my husband and daughter for their help with this website. Any mistakes or errors are entirely their fault. :-)

8 Responses


April 04, 2022

I spend a lot of time in Thailand and every time I use one of your pastes they take me right back there. They are fantastic, keep the recipes coming and the pastes I just want more!


August 18, 2021

I tried the Ref Thai Curry and have to say the flavours were amazing.


May 12, 2021

I also came across your website a few years ago in the comments section of a bbc good food recipe and have been buying your pastes ever since! Also thanks to your advice I now always make sure my coconut milk is at least 70% which makes all the difference


October 15, 2019

I found your website whilst Googling a Thai prawn curry recipe that I found the BBC Good Food site (a user highly recommended your pastes). I have ordered a selection of pastes and cannot wait to try them. Every photograph on your site looks mouthwatering.

Sarah Wilde
Sarah Wilde

March 20, 2018

Simply- THE BEST!

Christa Bond
Christa Bond

September 22, 2017

This is amazing :) Just woww

Phillip Perkins
Phillip Perkins

August 04, 2017

I have your Red Thai Curry Paste with chicken, The Best!
your pastes last a long time unopened which is great for storing until special occasion


January 20, 2017

wow, wow, wow…what else can I say but wow !! I have now had 3 of your sauces, Thai Green, Red and Chiang Mai and really don’t think I have ever had any better.. also worth mentioning I took your advise and found a coconut milk with 60% milk and that just simply lifted the meals to another level..
I don’t expect to be buying pastes from anyone else for a very long time.. thank you

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Thai Green Curry Paste
Alison Macqueen (Heathfield, GB)
Thai green curry paste

Absolutely delicious! Perfect amount of spice..order these pastes frequently as so good and recommend to friends

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Let’s just start with how wonderful the flavour of this curry is! If you want perfect comfort food, look no further! I would say that this flavour pairs itself better with lamb, they really do compliment each other. The added ginger is always perfect with lamb, not enough recipes out there with these two together. As I said perfect comfort food all year round❤️

Panang Thai Curry Paste
Natalie Wardle (Alfreton, GB)
Panang curry … delicious !

Tastes great, good flavour, authentic.
Will buy again and again.

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This is the second time I’ve been asked to review Crying Tiger sauce but I’m perfectly happy to do so. I use it to make larb and I love it!

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Nicola Mantle (Harrogate, GB)
Medium Thai Green Curry

I bought this for my other half, who loves the flavour of Thai green curry but often finds it too spicy. He found this to be fragrant and delicious without being too hot - a definite hit! Verified Reviews Badge
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