I’ll be honest here. The reason I decided to make a Thai-inspired curry dish was because I really wanted to make coconut sticky rice. Regardless, this recipe, which I based very loosely on a recipe in Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, turned out very well. The eggplant gets very tender, the potatoes keep a bit of bite to them, and the coconut milk/lime juice combination is bright and rich at the same time.
This is pretty easy to make, but does require a bit over 30 minutes of rather frequent stirring. The total time is about 45 minutes if you don’t have to salt the eggplant, or an hour and fifteen minutes if you do.
I highly recommend serving this with true Thai sticky rice (aka Thai glutinous rice or Thai sweet rice – it looks like long grains of a bright white, opaque rice), which requires an overnight soak and then steaming in a special bamboo steamer (cost me about $10 for the steaming kit at a pan-Asian grocery store). The dish will go well with other rice too, but I love this stuff. The grains stick only to themselves, not to your fingers or the plate, and they maintain a firm structure when cooked. It’s fun – and apparently traditional – to take a little scoop of rice in your hand, flatten it a bit, and use it to pick up pieces of other foods. The best part, however, is that you can make coconut sticky rice with mango for dessert!
– 1 lb eggplant
– 1 lb potatoes
– 1 tb + 1 tsp garlic, minced
– 2 tb ginger, minced
– 2 tsp curry paste/curry powder, or to taste
– 3 tb canola oil or peanut oil
– 1/2 – 1 lime
– 1 cp coconut milk
– cilantro for garnish
1. Chop the eggplant into 1-inch cubes. If it’s not straight from the garden or not very small, sprinkle with salt, let sit for 30 min, and sop up the liquid with a paper towel (this will get rid of any bitterness of large or older eggplants).
2. Dice the potato into smaller pieces than the eggplant.
3. Heat the oil over medium-high heat, then add 1 tb of garlic, the ginger, and the curry paste. Saute for a few minutes, but don’t let the garlic brown.
4. Add the potatoes, stirring constantly for 5 minutes.
5. Add the eggplant, continuing to stir constantly for 10 minutes, or until the eggplant has released enough of its own liquid to not be stirred so much. Add little bits of water if it sticks, deglazing the little bits on the bottom.
6. Continue to cook, stirring every few minutes, until the eggplant is quite tender and the potatoes are cooked through.
7. Add salt to taste, the coconut milk, and the lime juice to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the eggplant is quite soft and stew-ish.
8. Stir in the remaining 1 tsp of garlic. Taste again to adjust seasoning, and serve garnished with the cilantro.