Thai Aubergine Curry
Aubergine is a wonderful vegetable for taking on flavour, which certainly isn’t lacking in this addictive Thai curry. The flavours get even better overnight, so this is a great make-ahead dish.
|5 tbsp||sunflower oil|
|2||aubergines, cut into batons 2cm (¾in) thick|
|1||onion, peeled and quartered|
|4||garlic cloves, peeled|
|3cm (about 1in)||piece of fresh root ginger, peeled|
|2||sticks of lemongrass, tough outer leaves removed, roughly chopped|
|1 tbsp||cumin seeds|
|1 tbsp||coriander seeds|
|1 tsp||ground tumeric|
|¼ tsp||ground nutmeg|
|1 tbsp||caster sugar|
|3 tbsp||peanut or cashew butter|
|400ml (14fl oz)||coconut milk|
|250ml (9fl oz)||chicken stock|
|1||fresh red chilli, de-seeded and sliced|
|150g (5oz)||fresh spinach, washed|
|2 tbsp||fish sauce|
|1 tbsp||fresh lemon juice|
|small handful of Thai basil leaves|
|cooked rice, to serve|
You will need: a food processor.
1. In a bowl, combine three tablespoons of the oil, the aubergine batons and half a teaspoon of salt. Fry in a large pan over a high heat for 8–10 minutes, stirring frequently, until beginning to char. Don’t worry if the aubergine is not completely cooked through, as it will be added to the curry later. Set aside.
2. Put the onion, garlic, ginger and lemongrass into a food processor and blitz until finely ground.
3. Bash open the cardamom pods, discard the skins and put the seeds into a dry pan, together with the cumin and coriander seeds. Place over a medium heat and cook for 2–3 minutes until aromatic. Transfer to a mortar or spice grinder and grind to a powder. Tip the powder into a bowl and combine with the onion and garlic mixture, turmeric, nutmeg, sugar and peanut or cashew butter.
4. Heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a wok or large deep pan over a medium heat. Add the curry paste mixture and fry, stirring now and again, for 3–5 minutes until cooked through and fragrant. Add the coconut milk and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, add the aubergines and most of the chilli and cook for 15–20 minutes until slightly reduced and the aubergine is soft. Stir in the spinach until wilted down.
5. Add the fish sauce and lemon juice, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Scatter over the Thai basil leaves and remaining chilli and serve with rice.
Tip: If you are vegetarian, replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock and replace the fish sauce with soy sauce.