A lovely, simple, flavorful curry full of Southeast Asian flavors.
I don't normally salt large eggplants as I find most varieties nowadays aren't too bitter. However, I find the smaller Asian varieties are very bitter and do still require that extra salting step to eliminate the bitter aftertaste. To make sure I always have the base curry ingredients on hand, I have bags of long red chiles, kaffir lime leaves, and grated ginger all ready to go in bags in my freezer. And as always, please make sure you read over the ingredients listed on the back of your coconut milk tin; it should only read coconut and water. That's it. —Emma Galloway | My Darling Lemon Thyme
Test Kitchen Notes
This was amazing. It's one of the tastiest curries I've made in a long time and I loved every bite. The instructions were well written and thought out. I had a really hard time finding serrano chile, so I used half a large jalapeño (in both sections of the recipe) and the heat was perfect. The only modification I would make to the recipe is to chop the spring onions into sections, slice the jalapeños, and dice the garlic. I followed the insructions (and didn't cut any of them) and it took a while to soften the ingredients. I loved this recipe. —Victoria Ross
4 to 6
small long Asian eggplants, sliced into 1 1/2-cm (a little more than 1/2-inch) rounds
spring onions (scallions)
finely grated ginger
small tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped (see note)
First up lay the eggplant slices out onto a tray in a single layer. Sprinkle with a little salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse off salt and pat eggplant slices dry with a clean tea towel or paper towel.
To make the tomato paste, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add spring onion, garlic, ginger, and chile, and cook, stirring often, for 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Add chopped tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, and salt, and continue to cook for a further 6 to 8 minutes or until the tomatoes are pulpy. Remove from the heat and purée with a stick blender to a fine paste.
Wash out the saucepan quickly and return to the heat over medium. Add the oil for the curry sauce. When hot add the eggplant (aubergine) slices and red onion and cook, stirring often for 8 to 10 minutes or until the eggplant is starting to soften. Add the coconut milk, prepared tomato paste, sliced chile, chopped coriander (cilantro), kaffir lime leaves, soy sauce, and lime zest and juice. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the eggplant is meltingly tender. Add a touch of water at any stage if the sauce is thickening up too much. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt/pepper, chile, lime juice, or sugar if needed to get the right balance of flavors. Serve hot over jasmine rice, scattered with coriander leaves, Thai basil, sliced chile, and a wedge of lime to squeeze.
Note: To skin tomatoes; remove the hard core at one end and make a cross slit with a sharp knife on the other round end. Submerge into boiling water for 30 to 45 seconds, remove, and run under cold water. The skins should now slip off easily.