Monday, August 24, 2009

Eggplant and tomato curry

At long last, the recipe for which I was preparing my ingredients mise en place last Thursday night. A kind of Thai-Italian fusion; I was originally thinking about making a simple coconut-milk-based curry, but since I had all these tomatoes fresh from the garden, I went with the tomato-based sauce instead.

1 medium-to-large eggplant, cut into 3/4" dice
4 medium-to-large ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks (or I suppose you could use one 15-oz. can)
3 shallots, sliced
about 1/4 c. fish sauce
1/2 tsp red curry paste (more if you & your guests like spicy food)
1 tsp brown sugar
Juice of 1 lime
1-2 large handfuls of fresh herbs (I used regular sweet basil and citrus mint, but any combination of those and/or Thai basil, regular mint, and/or cilantro would be good)
oil (canola or other neutral oil)
1/3 to 1/2 pound of rice vermicelli

1. First, bring a pot of water to boil, add the vermicelli, turn off the heat and let noodles soak in water for 3-4 minutes. Reserve a little of the soaking liquid in a 1-cup measure, then drain and rinse well.
2. Cut everything up, and dissolve the curry paste and brown sugar in the fish sauce.
3. Heat a generous amount of oil in a wok. When hot, add shallots and stir-fry until well browned.
4. Add the eggplant chunks. They will absorb all the oil, so you want to toss them quickly so you don't have a handful of oil-soaked eggplant and the rest unflavored. As soon as wok seems dry and eggplants are browning a little, add the fish sauce mixture.
5. Stir well to distribute the fish sauce mixture, then add the tomatoes, stirring constantly to break them up. Once they start to break down, you can take a break from stirring.
6. Cook for 10-15 minutes over medium heat until eggplant is completely cooked through and sauce has thickened. If pan gets too dry, add some of the reserved noodle-soaking liquid.
7. Squeeze lime juice over curry. Roughly chop herbs and add to curry; stir well and remove from heat. Divide noodles among plates (I made this into about 4 servings), top with curry, and garnish with lime slices and/or reserved herb tops.

No comments: