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I'm on the low fodmap diet so i tried making my own thai curry paste (without shallots or garlic). Here are the ingredients that i used:

  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves, stems and roots
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large stalk lemon grass
  • 6 red chillies
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 spring onions
  • 3 tsp garlic infused sesame oil
  • 1 tsp lime juice

I'm guessing it's either the lemon grass or the lime juice which made it bitter

  • Was it bitter before or after cooking? If after please list all your other ingredients and your cooking method. – GdD Jan 6 '15 at 16:17
  • It was bitter before and after. Even the coconut milk and palm jaggery that I added didn't take away the bitterness. the other ingredients used were: eggplant (normal, not thai), red bell pepper, white button mushrooms, carrots, coconut milk, palm jaggery, salt, and a little extra red chilli powder – Niv Jan 6 '15 at 17:25
  • Hello Niv, and welcome to the site. The question about it being bitter is a good one, I hope somebody will figure it out. But recipe requests are off topic, so I removed that part. – rumtscho Jan 6 '15 at 19:07
  • As far as I can tell, your eggplant is one possible culprit and the other is the sesame oil having gone rancid. I'd try some of the oil on its own and fry a slice of aubergine on its own as well. If it's the latter I'd sprinkle some vinegar and salt on the aubergines and leave them to dry for a 2ple of hours. I'd wipe the slime before cooking. – Giorgos Jan 7 '15 at 11:53
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    Some people find that coriander leaves/cilantro tastes soapy or bitter. Do you know if you have this reaction to coriander leaves? – Rosa Richter Jan 7 '15 at 18:34
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Disclaimer: I have no experience with low FODMAP diets. But it seems quite a challenge to make a Thai curry without garlic or shallots in any case!

In Thai cooking, you typically want to have very strong flavours, and a balance of the basic flavours: bitter, sweet, salt, sour, and umami. So perhaps your problem isn't so much having a strong bitter taste (which isn't appreciated as much in western cuisine as it is in Thai cuisine), as a relative lack of the other basic tastes?

I would suggest that you may be missing out especially on salt and umami, because you haven't used any fermented fish sauce (which is typically very salty) for seasoning, nor fermented shrimp paste ("gapi", which is very umami) in the curry paste. One teaspoon of salt is not very much; in commercial curry pastes you may find as much as 25% salt.

Other things that come to mind (which may or may not be relevant to your issue):

  • Don't use lime juice in the curry paste; but do use a bit of lime zest. It's fine to use lime juice for seasoning while cooking the curry, though. I typically use a bit more than one teaspoon, perhaps two or three. But it all depends on the balance of the dish: as a rule of thumb, add (palm) sugar for sweetness, fish sauce for saltiness, and lime juice for sourness, until you can taste all basic tastes, without any one overwhelming the others.

  • Don't include the coriander leaves and top part of the stems in the curry paste, only the roots and lower part (about an inch) of the stems. You can use the leaves to garnish the dish.

  • Don't use spring onions in the paste, as they make a poor substitute for shallots; they're also better used for garnishing the dish.

  • Use galangal instead of ginger, if you can find it (if I can't get fresh galangal, I won't even bother trying to make my own curry paste).

Hope this helps!

  • Unfortunately, the green parts of spring onions are about the only allium allowed on the low FODMAP diet, so you end up using quite a bit, and asafoetida, if you have a source. – Joe Feb 13 '15 at 2:36

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