I went food shopping last week fully intending to make a hearty Thai chicken or pork curry for dinner. Then I saw all these eggplants and my intentions went out the window.
I realized I didn't cook with eggplants often enough. There were only two dishes in my repertoire that utilized eggplants, ratatouille and Sichuan "Fish-Fragrant" Eggplant. It was about time to add a third, especially when sitting inches away from the eggplants was a bin of gorgeous Thai basil bunches.
This recipe is so quick and easy to throw together that it can become a weeknight standby. The eggplant takes only about 9 or 10 minutes to cook, and it acts as a sponge for the tasty sauce of red curry paste, garlic, ginger, coconut milk, fish sauce and brown sugar. You can also make the dish fully vegetarian by substituting soy sauce for the fish sauce, but I love the earthiness that the fish sauce adds. The Thai basil goes in towards the end, but lends a great deep flavor to the rest of the dish.
Try it out and let me know what you think!
Thai Eggplant Curry
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 pounds Asian eggplants, cut into large bite-sized pieces
- 2 red or orange bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced or grated ginger
- 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce, or substitute soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup Thai basil leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large deep sauté pan or a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the eggplants and bell pepper and sauté until the eggplant has begun to soften all around, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and curry paste and cook until aromatic, another 1 minute.
- Pour in the coconut milk and bring the liquid to a simmer. Stir in the fish sauce and brown sugar. Cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, until the eggplant is very tender.
- Stir in the Thai basil leaves and cook for another minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a deep serving dish. Serve with ample amounts of rice.