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My inspiration this week was a huge bin of lovely miniature eggplant at the local market…15 for a dollar! I allowed common sense to prevail and only purchased 15 – though I wanted to fill my entire cart. As I stood there, I knew what I had to make: coconut curry. I think my mouth watered as I imagined these lovely petite eggplant bathed in creamy, spicy, coconutty goodness. I had tasted such a thing at a restaurant recently and knew that, with a little ingenuity, I could replicate it. I’m sure my concoction isn’t particularly authentic – Thai food purists beware! – but it’s truly delicious. Dare I say, this is one of the best things to every come from my kitchen?
Thai Coconut Curry with Eggplant and Tofu
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 8- 10 ounces super firm tofu (I prefer Wildwood), cubed (or in my case ‘rectangled’)
- 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1 large green onion, chopped
- 1/4 large yellow onion, sliced
- 1 1/2 cups white mushrooms, sliced thick
- 5 miniature eggplant, cut into large chunks (leave skin on)
- 5 baby red potatoes, cut into large chunks (leave skin on)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 veggie bouillon cube
- 2 tbsp red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen)
- 1 1/2 cans (20 oz) coconut milk (whole coconut milk, not light)
- 1 stalk lemon grass
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
In a good-sized pot (I used my 5-quart cast iron and enamel dutch oven), heat the olive oil on medium. Add the cubes of tofu and cook until browned on two sides (approximately 4 minutes per side). Remove tofu from pan and set aside.
Turn burner to medium high and add minced ginger, yellow onion and green onion. Cook until yellow onion begins to turn translucent. Add mushrooms, eggplant and potatoes. Stir for 2-3 minutes until vegetables begins to brown. Add coconut oil and coat the vegetables well. Stirring frequently, cook vegetables for approximately 5 minutes.
Dissolve the bouillon cube in the water and then stir in the curry paste, cinnamon, salt and cayenne pepper. Add to the vegetables and stir well. Add the coconut milk and stir again. Place the lemongrass stalk and bay leaves on top of the mixture and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Turn the heat down and once mixture has come to a simmer, cover the pot and cook until vegetables have softened and the mixture has thickened, about 15-20 minutes.
Remove the lemongrass and bay leaves, add the cooked tofu and serve over brown rice.
If you like your curry hotter or milder, simply adjust the amount of curry paste and cayenne. I probably added double the cayenne listed here – but that’s my taste. The recipe provided is about a “2″ on a scale of 1 to 10.
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