Raise your hand if you ever thought a gluten and dairy free diet doesn’t leave much to eat, or that adapted recipes just can’t be as good as the ‘traditional’ version… at least that is how it feels at first. We forget that billions of people cook everyday delicious dishes without gluten grains or cow’s milk, think Thai food for example. When I lived in Singapore about ten years ago, I enjoyed daily the incredible variety of Asian food: Korean, Thai, Malay, Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, you name it. Thai cuisine is one of my favorite and every now and then I like to cook spicy Thai soups or hearty curries. Like this aubergine and kale green curry I want to share with you today. Ever wanted to ditch the ready-made curry paste and do it all by yourself? Follow me, I will show you how, it’s so easy.
I’ve been meaning to try a green curry dish for a while now, doing the curry paste myself. Green curry pairs well with white meat, seafood and fish. I prepared it this time with white fish and jasmine rice, but you can serve it for example with chicken or prawns, or just as such for a vegetarian version, it’s up to you!
I love aubergine (or eggplant as you call it on the other side of the Atlantic). It is rather underused vegetable here in Finland, however I regularly have it in my dishes and thought it would be a perfect addition to this curry. The creamy and aromatic sauce gives character to this vegetable that, I admit, doesn’t have much taste of its own. Chopped paprika adds a lovely red color to this green curry sauce, and since I like my dishes packed with veggies, I also brought in the king of super healthy greens: kale.
This green curry is intensely flavored, and medium spicy so my little one would also enjoy it (and he did love it and asked for more). If you prefer a hotter curry, simply increase the amount of fresh green chili peppers in the curry paste recipe. Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients, the extra few minutes it takes to make the curry paste from scratch is worth it. See how fast you get it done and you can proudly say ‘I made it myself!’.
- 1 large aubergines (eggplant), peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 100 g chopped kale cabbage, tough ribs removed
- Handful of fresh coriander
- 2 cans coconut milk (2x 400 ml)
- 2 kaffir lime leaves
- Olive oil
- Salt to taste
- FOR THE CURRY PASTE:
- 2 lemongrass stalks, chopped (use bottom third only, and remove the tough outer layer)
- 3 chopped shallots
- 2 green chili pepper (4 if you want hotter curry), deseeded and stalks removed, chopped
- 1 lime zest
- 4 garlic cloves
- 3 cm ginger, peeled
- 1 tsp coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp Thai fish sauce (e.g. from Blue Dragon)
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp curcuma powder
- 3-4 tbsp coconut milk (or more to mix the paste)
- To make the curry paste: place the roughly chopped garlic, shallots, ginger, lemongrass, lime zest and chillies in a blender or food processor, along the spices, half of the coriander and a few tablespoons of coconut milk. Pulse until you get a coarse paste. You can add extra tablespoons of coconut milk if needed to help mixing the paste.
- Warm a large skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil, brown the aubergines and set aside. Add another tablespoon of oil and cook the red bell pepper until it is fork-tender (about 5 minutes), then add kale and let it cook a few more minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- Cook the curry paste in for 2 minutes, stirring all the time.
- Return the aubergines, bell pepper and kale to the pan. Pour the rest of the coconut milk, add coconut sugar, fish sauce and the 2 kaffir lime leaves. Bring to boil then turn the heat down to medium heat for about 15 minutes.
- Season to taste and sprinkle the coriander over the top.
- Serve immediately with jasmine rice and lime wedges.