Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Spicy Eggplant and Green Bean Curry

Just a few feet over from my over-producing zucchini plant are a couple of noble eggplants putting out a decent crop of their own. Eggplant is a vegetable I enjoy, though not something I've cooked with very much, and certainly not something I'd ever grown myself. Luckily for me, growing and cooking eggplant has turned out to be quite simple and delicious. As is my wont, I started with the basics, roasted eggplant which also transformed into baba ganoush, to get acquainted with my homegrown eggplant. After those basic preparations, I wanted to go with something intensely flavorful, this curry fitting the bill splendidly. I was helped along this path because I already had a jar of green curry paste in the fridge, but I don't for a second regret pairing those aromatic herbs and chilies with earthy eggplant. Additional garlic and ginger intensify those flavors, cilantro and mint add amplify the herbaceousness, and coconut milk provides the perfect creamy conduit for blending it all together. This makes for a complete Thai-inspired meal with a protein and some coconut rice, or you can go my completely untraditional route and use pieces of pita to scoop it up, topping with pieces of stir-fried tofu.

Spicy Eggplant and Green Bean Curry
adapted from Bon App├ętit
serves 4

5 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil, divided
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 14- to 16-ounce eggplant, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 ounces green beans, trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon grated lime peel
1 to 3 teaspoons Thai green curry paste, to taste
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
3 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

1. Heat 4 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger; stir 30 seconds. Add eggplant and green beans. Cook until almost tender, stirring often, about 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer vegetables to bowl.

2. Add 1 tablespoon oil, lime peel, and curry paste to same skillet; stir 15 seconds. Add coconut milk; bring to boil, whisking until smooth. Return vegetables to skillet; toss until sauce thickens enough to coat vegetables, about 3 minutes. Season with salt. Mix in onions, cilantro, and mint.

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