This fragrant curry paste is a perfect base for chicken, vegetable and fish curries. Here, Valli Little has used it in a chicken and eggplant curry with absolutely tasty results.
- 2 lemongrass stalks (white part only), chopped
- 4 Asian (red) eschalots, chopped
- 2 tbs finely grated ginger
- 6 long red chillies (seeds removed from half), chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 6 kaffir lime leaves
- 5 coriander roots, scraped to remove dirt, washed
- Finely grated zest of 2 limes
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 8 (650g) chicken thigh fillets
- 1/2 cup (150g) yellow curry paste
- 1 tbs coarsely grated palm sugar
- 2 tbs fish sauce
- Juice of 2 limes, plus lime wedges to serve
- 800ml coconut milk
- 150g Thai eggplants (from Asian grocers) or 3 halved Japanese eggplants
- Thai basil leaves, coriander leaves, thinly sliced red chilli, shredded kaffir lime leaves, steamed jasmine rice and fried Asian shallots, to serve
For the paste, place all ingredients in a food processor and whiz to a coarse paste. (Alternatively, pound using a mortar and pestle). Paste will keep covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days and frozen for up to 3 months.
To make the curry, heat 1 tbs oil in a deep frypan with a lid or a wok over medium-high heat.
Working in batches, add half the chicken and cook, turning halfway, for 4 minutes or until golden. Remove and set aside. Leave the oil in pan. Add remaining chicken and repeat.
Wipe out pan with paper towel and add remaining 1 tbs oil. Add curry paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until slightly darkened and very fragrant.
Return the chicken and any resting juices to the pan with the palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice. Bring to a simmer, and then add coconut milk. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 10 minutes.
Add eggplants, then cover and cook for further 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and eggplants are just tender. Remove from the heat and set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
Place curry in a serving dish and top with basil and coriander, then scatter over chilli and kaffir lime leaves. Serve with rice topped with shallots, plus lime wedges to squeeze over.