Aubergine Coconut Curry with Lemongrass

Maybe its nostalgia for my days in Singapore, or maybe its just my craving for exotic flavors, but I have been on quite a South East Asian cooking kick. On my latest grocery trip I picked up the key ingredients for some of my favorite Asian dishes: coconut milk, lemongrass, red chillies, fresh ginger root, and curry powder (more complex flavor than turmeric). So tonight I experimented with these flavors by adapting a recipe from BBC’s Good Food for Aubergine curry with lemongrass and coconut milk.
I used curry powder instead of turmeric. Also, this recipe calls for a food processor (which I don’t have but need) to puree the first four ingredients. Instead, I finely chopped these ingredients. I actually liked the added texture of my “paste” and the exposure of flavors.

* 3 large red chillies , deseeded and stalks removed, chopped (I used Sriracha chili sauce)
* 6 garlic cloves , roughly chopped
* knob of fresh ginger , peeled and chopped
* 2 lemon grass stalks, trimmed and chopped
* 2 tbsp ground turmeric (I used curry powder)
* 1 tsp chilli powder
* 2-3 aubergines (about 600g/1lb 5oz), quartered lengthways, then halved
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* 1 tbsp sugar (I used Agave nectar)
* 6 shallots , finely chopped (or scallions)
* 1 tbsp Thai fish sauce (nam pla) (or soy sauce)
* 400ml can coconut milk
* 400ml vegetable stock or water
* small bunch coriander , roughly chopped, to serve

1. Finely chop/mince the chillies, garlic, ginger and lemongrass to a coarse paste. Set aside. Mix the curry (or turmeric) and chilli powder together and rub it all over the aubergine (eggplant) wedges.
2. Heat the olive oil in frying pan, then brown the aubergines, remove from the pan and set aside. Cook the paste, sugar and shallots for a few mins, then return the aubergines to the pan. Add the fish (or soy) sauce, coconut milk and stock or water, mix well, and bring the liquid to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook gently until the aubergine is tender, but not mushy, about 15 mins. Season to taste and sprinkle the coriander over the top.

I plated my curry with a fresh herb quinoa I made earlier today. The flavors married each other and I was very pleased with the balance between hot, spicy (rich) curry next to the chilled and mild grain.


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