Serves 8-10 people


For the Curry Paste

10 dried red chilies, ground in a mortar and pestle
10 fresh green Thai chilis, thinly sliced (or 2 serranos, or 4 jalapenos)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground white pepper
2 C cilantro stems, loosely packed (reserve leaves for garnish)
4 lemongrass stalks, just the bottom halves, minced
2 T galangal, minced
2 inch piece of fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped (or 1 tsp turmeric powder)
2 teaspoons kaffir lime zest
16 cloves garlic, chopped
4 large shallots, chopped
2 tsp shrimp paste (optional)

For the Curry

2 cans unsweetened coconut milk
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into ¾ inch dice
1 large onion, cut into ¾ inch dice
1 lb eggplant, cut into 1 inch dice
1 lb seasonal vegetable of choice (i.e. summer squash, snap peas, etc. – refer to menu)
1-2 T fish sauce, to taste (optional)
1 T palm sugar syrup (dissolve 1 disc in 3 T boiling water)
1 C vegetable stock
Juice of 1-2 limes
6 kaffir lime leaves, chiffonade

For the Garnish

Scallions, sliced thin on bias
Cilantro leaves


For the Curry Paste

Place all the ingredients together in a food processor or blender, and process to a paste. If necessary, add a few Tbsp. of the coconut milk to help blend ingredients. Set aside.

For the Curry

Sauté the onion and bell pepper in a small amount of rice bran oil until soft, about 8 minutes, and set aside.  Sauté the eggplant over high heat in small batches until browned, about 8 minutes, and set aside.  Cook the seasonal vegetables as appropriate (blanch snap peas, oven roast squash, etc.) and set aside.

Pro tip: Canned coconut milk settles when it isn’t agitated.  The fattier part collects at the top and the thinner liquid goes to the bottom.

In a small stainless sauce pot, heat about 1 ½ C of the thickest part of the coconut milk reserving the thinner liquid for later.  Cook over high heat until thick and bubbly and the fat starts to separate and turn brown.

Add the curry paste and reduce heat to medium.  Cook until very fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the remaining coconut milk, vegetable stock, fish sauce (if using), lime juice, and palm sugar.  Mix thoroughly.  Increase heat and add all cooked vegetables.  Stir in the kaffir lime leaves and turn off the heat.  Adjust seasoning to balance salty, sweet, spicy, and sour.

To Serve

Garnish with scallions and cilantro.

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