There are different culinary traditions around yellow curry. Here is a typical recipe from southern Thailand.
The recipe is given for 2 people, for a moderately spicy curry, according to western standards.
3 fresh bird's eye chillies, yellow or green
or 50% dry bird's eye chillies and 50% fresh yellow bird's eye chillies
½ teaspoon black peppercorn
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
10 g lemongrass, chopped
10 g galangal, chopped
1 teaspoon kaffir lime zest
5 g garlic
10 g shallot
10 g fresh turmeric
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
It is preferable to pound the paste in a stone mortar rather than using a food processor. The flavours are different depending on whether the ingredients have been pound with a pestle or cut with a metal blade.
The ingredients should be introduced in a precise order and between each new group of ingredients, the paste should be pound until the mixture is smooth. It shouldn't be possible to distinguish one ingredient from another.
1st group of ingredients: chillies and seeds (black peppercorn, cumin, coriander);
2nd group: the "hard" ingredients, namely lemongrass, galanga and kaffir lime zest;
3rd group: "soft" ingredients: garlic, shallots and turmeric;
Finally, shrimp paste is added.