So I decided that I was going to try to make red curry for the first time ever last night. I think the heartiness and bad-for-you high calorie and fat content of this dish makes it sufficiently redneck enough. Now for some reason I have always had a bit of trouble making Asian foods more than any other, and my downstairs smoke detector always goes off whenever I try. (I think my smoke detector is racist.)
Often when I decide I’m going to make something for the first time I will browse around other recipes online and try to formulate my own recipe. From there I can usually create a good recipe that I think will work best. That’s what I did here, lurking around various sites, making mental and sometimes actual notes on what to do, until finally I developed what seemed like a process that would work. And it did – quite well actually.
Most red curry recipes out there are for chicken curry, though a lot is for tofu. While I like the tofu curries that I have had when I go out to eat (St. Louis has really good Thai restaurants by the way), I don’t particularly like cooking with tofu at home. I don’t hate it or anything, but it’s a bit of a process to get it drained and marinated and all (which I do by freezing then thawing and squeezing). I decided that I was going to use eggplant, as eggplant is pretty hearty, and will often work well in lieu of meat. I ended up going to the cool little ethnic food market here in town (Jay’s International) to get the necessary ingredients. They had these cool little cans of red curry paste which were perfect.
Anyway, the curry turned out really well, enough to where I feel pretty confident giving this recipe out for mass consumption:
- Two Chinese eggplants (or one regular eggplant), diced into largish chunks
- One medium-small red onion, sliced
- One green bell pepper, sliced
- Five cloves of garlic, minced
- 8 oz or so of sliced button mushrooms
- Several tablespoons of red curry paste (exact amount may vary)
- A light oil (I used Canola)
- One (normal sized) can of light coconut milk
- Three tablespoons of soy sauce
Note: I don’t like dicing the onions and peppers for this dish like I would a soup or a chili. For a curry I think it’s good to leave the pieces a little longer. Most pieces were around an inch long.
Get a wok (or a large pan of some sort) and heat up several tablespoons of oil (enough oil to coat the bottom well) using medium-high heat. Throw in the eggplant, pepper and onions at the same time, and stir fry until the eggplant starts to get saturated and the onions begin to get translucent. Then turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic and the mushrooms, and keep stir frying until the mushrooms are saturated.
Then add your curry paste. I should note here that not all curry pastes are created equal, so you might need to use more of some types than of others. Most of the time you will use between three and six tablespoons, but if you like it hotter and more flavorful then feel free to go crazy. Stir in your curry paste well, then add the coconut milk and the soy sauce.
Turn the heat down to medium-low and let it simmer for a few minutes. Also, you might want to take a taste to see if it needs anything (most likely either curry paste or soy sauce). Serve this over your favorite rice (I like white jasmine rice) and eat. Yum. This was pretty good.