I have always loved Thai food. There’s more variety and more flavors in Thai cuisine. And while I love Thai food, I usually preferred my dishes as mild as it could be. It wasn’t until my sister-in-law (who is from Thailand) reintroduced me to the savory ingredients that when combined create the depth of flavors that I love. It is because of her, I now enjoy eating much spicier foods. In addition, she taught me the secret to really good curry sauce: You have to lightly fry your curry paste in order to reveal its true potential. Only then will you have a curry worth eating. Most curry dishes use chicken, pork, beef and potatoes. This spicy chicken curry includes eggplant as one of the main ingredients. There are also a lot of other “special” ingredients in this curry to round out the flavor of the green curry. Most of these can be found at Asian markets.
1/2 lb. boneless chicken, sliced thinly
1 small onion, sliced thinly
2 Japanese eggplants, sliced into sticks
1 red bell pepper, seeded, sliced into sticks
1 can 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 patis
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup Thai Basil or Sweet Basil leaves
1-3 Thai chilies, depending on your heat preference
Place a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok or deep pan over high heat. Add chicken and brown. Add onions and cook until clear. Add eggplant and stir-fry until skin becomes lightly brown and blistered, and the eggplant insides begin to soften and get a slight sear. 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. Place another tablespoon of vegetable oil in the wok heat over medium heat. Add the curry paste and sauté over medium heat until fragrant. Add half of the coconut milk and mix, simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, brown sugar and remaining coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add the bamboo shoots, bell pepper and cooked chicken and eggplant mixture. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until softened a bit. Stir in basil and chilies and remove from heat. Serve over rice.