Second only to my love of cooking with seasonal and local ingredients is cooking international dishes. Taking a temporary pause from the Mediterranean-inspired meals we’ve been recreating since our recent travels (more recipes coming soon!), we took a trip down memory lane last week to make this green curry with chicken after finding Thai eggplants at the farmers’ market.
When we visited Chiang Mai, Thailand two years ago, one of the must-do experiences on my wishlist was to take a Thai cooking class. We loved Thai food, but always assumed it was too hard to cook. A class at Baan Thai, a family-run cooking school, changed our mind! Our instructor led our small class of six to the local market to learn about exotic fruits and vegetables, then taught us how to make five different dishes. One of those was a traditional green curry with chicken—we even learned how to make green curry paste! Keep reading for the surprisingly simple recipes…
Thai Green Curry with Chicken
15 fresh green chilies
3 tablespoons chopped shallot
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
50 grams chopped galangal* (Thai ginger)
1/2 tablespoon chopped lemongrass*
1 teaspoon lesser ginger*
1 teaspoon shrimp paste (or substitute salt)
1/2 teaspoon chopped kaffir lime peel*
1 teaspoon chopped coriander root*
1 teaspoon tumeric root*
2 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon green curry paste
2 handfuls of Thai eggplants, quartered (or 1 Japanese eggplant, cubed)
2 handfuls of green beans (baby carrots or baby corn work too)
2 cups light coconut milk
10 leaves of sweet basil
2 kaffir lime leaves*
1 red spur chili, diced
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons oil
2 cups of cooked sticky rice
To make the green curry paste, put garlic, green chilies and tumeric root into a mortar and pound well with a pestle. Add lemongrass, galangal, coriander root, kaffir lime peel and pound well. Add shallot, lesser ginger and pound. Add shrimp paste and pound until smooth and fine. The paste can be kept in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 4 months.
Put the oil into a wok or large skillet over low heat. Add the green curry paste and stir until fragrant. Add the chicken, 1/2 cup of the coconut milk and stir constantly until the chicken is cooked. Add the remaining coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add eggplant and green beans, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with the fish sauce and sugar. Add the basil and kaffir lime leaves and red chili. To serve, add rice to shallow bowls and top with the curry mixture.
*Some of the Thai ingredients can be difficult to find unless you have access to a great Asian market. Try Temple of Thai, a great online resource that offers small quantities of all the fresh ingredients mentioned above that you can simply order. Easiest option: Use the jarred Thai Kitchen brand of green curry paste found in the Asian section of your grocery store–we’ve found it to be a great substitute in place of making your own.