Eggplant Green Curry

One of my favorite dishes on the planet is a green curry made with eggplant. But you really need to know what you are doing to make it, and I don’t. Which is why we are turning to guest contributor Garrett McCord for this recipe. This is as good as any I’ve had a restaurant. It does call for special ingredients which are available at most Asian markets. ~Elise

When I was learning to cook in college a Thai friend’s mother told me that there are two particular tricks you need to be aware of to craft a truly outstanding curry. The first is that if you’re using eggplant you have to blister and sear it in order to enhance its unique taste. The second is that you have to lightly fry your curry paste in order to reveal its true potential. Only then will you have a curry worth eating.

Utilizing these rules this basic green curry is as simple as they come, and that will easily match or beat any green curry you’ve had in a restaurant. While I love the flavor of eggplant in this dish you could just as easily use chicken or shrimp. Furthermore, I highly encourage you to use kaffir lime leaves if you can find them as they add a certain floral-citrusy flavor that can’t be substituted. You can do this recipe without them, and though it will lack a truly authentic flavor it will still be completely yum-worthy.

Eggplant Green Curry Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4.

There are a lot of special ingredients in this curry. We've provided links to Amazon for some of the harder-to-find items, and most can be found at an Asian market if there is one near you. Also most of these ingredients can usually be found at Whole Foods.

Yum

Ingredients

  • Vegetable or grapeseed oil
  • 2 Japanese eggplants, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, sliced into sticks
  • 1 can of bamboo shoots
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons green curry paste
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, cut into three pieces and bruised
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Thai Basil or Sweet Basil leaves
  • 1-3 Thai chilies, depending on your heat preference
  • Lime for garnish (optional)

Method

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1 Place a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok or deep pan over high heat. Add eggplant and stir-fry until skin becomes lightly brown and blistered, and the eggplant insides begin to soften and get a slight sear, about 3 to 4 minutes. The eggplant will absorb the oil, if some of the eggplant pieces don't get any add a little more oil. Remove from heat and set aside in a bowl.

2 Place another tablespoon of vegetable oil in the wok heat over medium heat. Add the curry paste - be careful, as it will cause the oil to spit - and sauté over medium heat until fragrant, about 20 to 30 seconds. Add half of the coconut milk and mix, simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.

3 Add the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, brown sugar, and remaining coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add the bamboo shoots, cooked eggplant, and bell pepper. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until softened a bit. Stir in basil and chilies and remove from heat. Serve over rice with lime wedges on the side.

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Showing 4 of 25 Comments

  • noodle fever

    Searing the eggplant and frying the paste are great tips, but I know from experience that store-bought paste will not rival the results of the best Thai restaurants in San Francisco and L.A. (Sadly, it is definitely true that many many other Thai restaurants in the U.S. do rely on the pre-made pastes).

    Particularly with green curry, which gets its characteristic zing from fresh herbs, I would really encourage people to take the extra 10-15 minutes to make the paste from scratch. It’s shockingly easy!

    Love the recipes on this site, and have made many of them with great success!

    A lot of Thai families I have met do buy curry pastes these days. However, you’re right, fresh is best. However, a store bought curry paste can be doctored by running it through a food processor with some fresh herbs. ~Garrett

  • Tabitha (From Single to Married)b

    I so wish I could cook curry -my husband isn’t a big fan. But this recipe looks fantastic!

    Cook it for yourself! Just means leftovers for you! ~Garrett

  • Alanna

    Wow. I’m trying to imagine one to three Thai chilis on top of that much green curry paste, yikes, hot, right?!

    I remade my own version of a similar eggplant curry just last week. Even with no Thai chilis and just a half teaspoon to a teaspoon of green curry paste, there was plenty of heat.

  • Elise

    Hi Alanna,

    This curry was wonderfully mild. Not hot at all, even with the chiles. Could be our green curry paste was more mild than yours.

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