grilled eggplant & green curry

grilled eggplant and green curry (8 of 8)

I’ve been working on a week-long game plan for you. I’m aiming for a list of each meal, snack ideas, occasional deserts, and tips for preparing ingredients ahead of time. But I’m testing it out as I go. One of the meals I wanted to included was a total flop. It was a recipe I cut out from a real simple magazine years ago and had stowed away in the little photo album I use as a recipe binder: “Thai ginger chicken.” The image was this beautiful dish that was much more inspiring than the above image.

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But alas, the recipe was not the same used for the photo shoot; I’m sure of it. The eggplant was spongy and wet and the curry sauce looked gross. There was wayyy too much liquid and made the dish more like a soup. Trying to figure out what went wrong, I examined the image and noticed that even the eggplant looked different from my creation. The photo’s eggplant looked roasted or grilled while the recipe simply instructed the cook to saute the squash-like fruit in the curry. And so I decided to try again- this time without a recipe and merely using the image as a jumping off point.

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While this dish could certainly be prepared vegetarian, I wasn’t confident the eggplant would turn out and the hubs had already graciously ate the first failed attempt; I wanted a back-up plan. While chicken breasts sliced into strips would be prettier, I used chicken legs to keep this recipe economical. Thighs would also work nicely for an inexpensive meat. This recipe also skips the difficult to find ingredients typical in Thai cooking like lemongrass, kafir leaves, dried shrimp paste, or galanga- however if you have access to such ingredients, lucky you! Go find another site and tell me how it turned out!

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This recipe does use whole foods, but it is not the healthiest option on this site. I used dark meat, full fat coconut milk is a must, and you use salt liberally to prepare the eggplant for the grill. Not to season, but to draw out the veggie’s moisture. In my limited experience, if you don’t salt and let drain, the eggplant will be spongy. It is up to you whether to rinse and press to get the salt off. I just dabbed it with a paper towel, leaving some of the salt. Next time I make this dish, it will probably be vegetarian.

grilled eggplant and green curry (3 of 8) grilled eggplant and green curry (6 of 8)

Grilled Eggplant and Green Curry

heavily adapted from real simple magazine.

Ingredients:

juice and pinch of zest from 1 lime

7 basil leaves, reserve 3 small ones for garnish

1 can full fat coconut milk (you can save a ton of calories if you use light coconut milk, but the flavor will be severely hampered.)

1 big handful of cilantro- remove the stems

1 1/2 large cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon cumin, or more to taste

3 jalapenos- slice in half long ways and remove the ribs. I save some of the seeds for the heat, but this is a personal preference.

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 eggplant sliced into rounds about 1/2 inch thick.

1 small yellow onion, chopped.

1 cup of sugar snap peas, stringed (you can use another vegetable if these are costly in your neck of the woods)

salt

chicken (optional)

rice of your choice

Directions:

Read this entire recipe before beginning as you have some decisions to make. Think of it as a choose your own adventure recipe.

1.) Begin by preparing your eggplant. Slice the eggplant into circles no thicker than 1/2 an inch, but keeping in mind that you will need to turn them on the grill. Salt both sides of each round generously and place in a colander to drain.

2.) Prepare your grill and don’t forget to start your rice.

3.) To make the curry, shake the can of coconut milk and pour in your blender or food processor along with the lime, basil, cilantro, garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin, jalapenos, and ginger. Process until the mixture is green, but you can still see flecks of the herbs.

4.) If using chicken, prepare as you see fit.

{If cost is not a huge issue, I suggest cutting 2 chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces, sauting them in olive oil with the onions and soy sauce until just cooked and then finish by simmering in the curry.  I used a french oven to brown three chicken legs, added some water, covered, and baked in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes.  But you could also grill chicken breasts or thighs to serve with curry spooned over top.}

5.) Saute onions over low heat in a little olive oil till they develop a tinge of color. Add the soy sauce and cook for just a few more seconds

{I sauteed my onions with the chicken legs.}

6.) Pour curry sauce over your onions (and chicken if using) and bring to a low simmer and allow the sauce to thicken.

7.) Pat the eggplants dry and place on the grill over medium-high heat. If you want to add a little shimmer, brush the eggplants lightly with olive oil. I did not use any olive oil for the eggplant.  Cover the grill and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side until you have some good grill marks. Remove slices from the grill and set aside.

8.) Add snap peas to the curry in the last minute of simmering. Once the eggplant has cooled, cut the circles into bite-sized pieces.

{I went pizza style and made little triangles}

9.) To plate: put rice on the bottom, eggplant in the middle, spoon over the curry, and garnish with a few more pieces of eggplant and a basil leaf. Enjoy!

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