2 cups cilantro stems
loosely packed (reserve leaves for garnish)
4 stalks lemongrass
just the bottom halves & minced
2 tbsp galangal
1 piece 2" fresh turmeric
2 tsp lime zest
16 cloves garlic
4 whole large shallots
2 tsp shrimp paste
5 dried red chilies
ground in a mortar and pestle
5 whole fresh green Thai chilies
seeded & sliced
1 tsp Kosher salt
2 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 cup rice bran oil or canola oil
1 whole red bell pepper
seeded & cut into 3/4" dice
1 whole yellow onion
cut into 3/4" dice
1 lb eggplant
cut into 1" dice
1 lb seasonal vegetable of choice
(ie. summer squash or snap peas etc)
2 cans unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
to taste (optional)
1 tbsp palm sugar syrup
1 cup vegetable stock
juice of 1 to 2 limes
6 whole kaffir lime leaves
sliced thin on bias
cilantro leaves
For the Curry Paste
Place all the ingredients together in a food processor and blend to a paste. Set aside.
For the Vegetables
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.
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 caramelize.
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.
If you choose not to add the fish sauce or shrimp paste this recipe is vegan.