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If using whole coriander, cumin seeds, and black peppercorns, add to a small skillet and toast over medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes, shaking / stirring occasionally, or until fragrant and slightly deeper in color. Be careful not to burn! If using powder, skip this step.
Once seeds are toasted, add to a mortar and pestle and loosely crush. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, slightly cool the seeds, add them to a sandwich bag, and crush with a rolling pin or a heavy pan. Set aside.
To a food processor (or blender with a narrow base), add green chilies, bell pepper, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, green onions (or shallot), coriander, cumin, black pepper, turmeric, sea salt, lemon juice, lime zest + juice, oil / water, and maple syrup (or other sweetener). Blend / mix until a paste forms, scraping sides down as needed. The lemongrass can be difficult to grind at first, but give it time! It's fine.
Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lime zest or juice for acidity, salt for saltiness, chilies for heat, maple syrup for sweetness, oil (or water) for creaminess, garlic for zing, ginger for brightness, or turmeric for more intense curry flavor.
Store curry paste in a jar in the refrigerator up to 10 days or more. For longer storage, transfer paste to an ice cube tray, freeze, then store in a freezer-safe bag up to 1 month.
This curry paste is ideal for curries, soups, sauces, salad dressings, and more!