This green curry dish is the most popular Thai meal after Phad Thai – but watch out, it’s spicy!
I first learned to make it at the Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School during my stay in Thailand, where it became my inaugural meal using coconut milk. Before this I had never really given it a chance. My earliest memory of a coconut (cue the flashback harp music) is from a trip to Florida when I was really young, where my dad broke open a coconut that had washed up on the beach and handed my brother and I pieces to examine and nibble on. I remember the clear liquid on the inside tasting foul and then subsequently I was turned off everything ‘coconut’ for a few decades, however undeserved.
I’ve since learned that coconut milk isn’t actually the liquid inside of a coconut, as I had been led to believe; and many years after my Florida trip I realized that the liquid deserved another chance. After all, I had the same initial reaction to coffee and alcohol and look where I am now. During our stay in a rural Thai village, on a particularly sweltering day, our host father poked holes in a coconut he picked from his yard and handed us straws for drinking. Parched from the heat, I found this makeshift umbrella drink refreshing and vowed thereafter to conquer all of my other childhood food aversions.
Actual coconut milk, if ever the question is asked on Jeopardy, is made by squeezing the grated flesh of a coconut with a bit of hot water. The resulting rich, creamy liquid looks much like cow’s milk…and it is a vital ingredient in the making of most curry dishes, including this one.
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced chicken breast
2 cups coconut milk (although not authentic, you’ll save a lot of time if you just buy the canned stuff at the store) – set aside 2 tbsp as a garnish
4 tbsp green curry paste (I really like the Thai Kitchens brand that comes in small glass jars)
1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup small green eggplants (optional and not required, as it’s challenging to find – though Chinese grocery stores normally carry it)
2 tbsp palm sugar (optional, but again, can be found in Chinese grocery stores)
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 red chilli, sliced
1. Put the coconut milk into a wok on medium-high heat and fry for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the green curry paste and fry for 2 more minutes.
2. Once the paste is cooked, add the chicken slices and cook until the outside of the chicken turns white.
3. When the liquid begins to boil, add the big and small eggplants then simmer until eggplants are slightly soft (about 3 – 4 minutes).
4. If you managed to locate palm sugar (congratulations!), you can add it now to the edge of the wok so that it melts into the liquid. Then add the fish sauce and stir.
5. Turn off the heat and serve garnished with sliced red chilli pepper and the remaining coconut milk.