Veggie Thai aubergine curry
This veggie Thai curry is a perfect make-ahead recipe - seek out vegetarian "fish" sauce for a completely vegan version.
- 5 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 aubergines, cut into batons 2cm/¾in thick
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 3cm/1¼in piece fresh root ginger, peeled
- 2 sticks lemongrass, tough outer leaves removed, roughly chopped
- 5 cardamom pods
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 3 tbsp peanut or cashew butter
- 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
- 250ml/9fl oz chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 1 fresh red chilli, seeds removed, sliced
- 150g/5½oz fresh spinach, washed
- 2 tbsp fish sauce or vegetarian fish sauce
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- small handful Thai basil leaves
- sea salt
- cooked rice, to serve
In a bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of the oil, the aubergine batons and half a teaspoon of salt. Fry in a large pan over a high heat for 8–10 minutes, stirring frequently, until beginning to char. Don’t worry if the aubergine is not completely cooked through, as it will be added to the curry later. Set aside.
Put the onion, garlic, ginger and lemongrass into a food processor and blitz until finely ground.
Bash open the cardamom pods, discard the skins and put the seeds into a dry pan, together with the cumin and coriander seeds. Place over a medium heat and cook for 2–3 minutes until aromatic. Transfer to a mortar or spice grinder and grind to a powder. Tip the powder into a bowl and combine with the onion and garlic mixture, turmeric, nutmeg, sugar and peanut or cashew butter.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok or large deep pan over a medium heat. Add the curry paste mixture and fry, stirring now and again, for 3–5 minutes until cooked through and fragrant. Add the coconut milk and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, add the aubergines and most of the chilli and cook for 15–20 minutes until slightly reduced and the aubergine is soft. Stir in the spinach until wilted down.
Add the fish sauce and lemon juice, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Scatter over the Thai basil leaves and remaining chilli and serve with rice.