Thai green curry is spicier than the red and yellow curries. (See my Thai Red Curry post.) I know this green curry doesn’t look very appetizing – in fact, I served it as “swamp sludge” at a Halloween party once 😉 – but it’s my personal favourite thai dish. Sometimes I make this vegetarian and it’s the only vegetarian dish that doesn’t leave me craving meat. I ate the eggplant and bamboo shoot green curry dish at a local Thai and Cambodian restaurant every day for about a month before I finally stopped being lazy and figured out how to make it myself. Thai curries are incredibly easy to make at home and, like a Chinese stir fry, you can use any combination of meat and vegetables you happen to have on hand. These freeze well too.
Simple Green Curry with Eggplant and Bamboo Shoots Recipe
serves 4 to 6
1 large chicken breast, sliced thinly (optional)
1 to 2 tablespoons green curry paste or to taste (my favourite brand of curry paste is Mae Ploy) – Note that green curry paste is spicier than red and yellow so unless you like your food very spicy, start with 1 tablespoon and adjust to taste later
1 can (560 ml) coconut milk of thick consistency (of all the brands that I’ve tried, and I’ve tried many, the best brand is Mae Ploy)
1 Japanese purple eggplant, cut into 1.5″ cubes
1/2 can bamboo shoot strips drained and rinsed very well (if you can only find sliced bamboo, then cut them into thin strips) Note that canned bamboo has a distinct odour that you may not like, but once rinsed and cooked, they taste nothing like the odour and have a nice crunchy texture.
2 teaspoons fish sauce (the best brand is ‘Three Crabs’; the colour should be of brewed tea; the darker the colour, the worse the quality) – optional
juice of 1 lime
4 to 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
(Note: You could use any combination of vegetables that you’d like. I prefer to use 2 or 3 types of vegetables that are differently coloured.)
Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a heavy bottomed pot or a ceramic dutch oven over medium heat. Cook the eggplant stirring frequently until very soft. When the eggplant starts to brown or stick to the pot, add some water and keep cooking. You may need to add water twice to prevent the eggplant from burning. It will take about 8 minutes to get the very soft texture that will contrast the crunchy bamboo nicely. Set aside. To the empty pot, heat 1 to 2 more tablespoons of oil. Stir fry the green curry paste until heated through and fragrant. Then add the coconut milk gradually, stirring constantly to mix well. Bring the coconut milk to a boil. Add the chicken (if using), bamboo shoots and eggplant and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. If the curry is too thick, add water half a cup at a time. Let the curry boil gently for a few minutes until the meat is cooked through. Do not overcook. Remove from heat when done. Add the fish sauce and lime juice and stir. Taste and adjust seasoning (fish sauce, lime juice, curry paste). Ladle onto a plate with rice. Serve hot.