2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 kaffir lime leaves
300g (10.5 oz) chicken thigh fillets, thinly sliced
100g (3.5 oz) green beans, cut into batons
100g (3.5 oz) Thai eggplants*
2 tbsp fish sauce
½ tbsp finely shaved palm sugar
½ cup Thai basil leaves
steamed rice, to serve
Jungle curry paste:
10 long dried red chillies
3cm (just over 1”) piece galangal, peeled & finely chopped
1 lemongrass stalk, pale part finely chopped
2 x 4cm (1 ½”) pieces krachai*, roughly chopped
2 Asian shallots, roughly chopped
2 coriander (cilantro) roots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
4 kaffir lime leaves, destemmed, finely chopped
3 tsp shrimp paste
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp sea salt
To make the curry paste, soak the dried chillies in 1 cup hot water for 10-15 minutes or until softened.
Remove the chillies from the water (it doesn’t matter if you don’t drain them completely as some water is fine), reserving the soaking water. Roughly chop the chillies and then place them in a mortar. Use a pestle to pound to a rough paste. Now add the galangal and pound again. Continue adding and pounding the lemongrass, krachai, shallots, coriander root and garlic cloves. Pounding after adding each ingredient makes the process easier and faster. You can also do this step in a food processor.
Stir through the kaffir lime leaves, shrimp paste, cumin, ground coriander and salt.
Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the curry paste and kaffir lime leaves. Cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Then add the chicken and stir-fry until the chicken starts to colour. Stir through the reserved chilli soaking water and an additional 2 cups of water. Simmer for 3 minutes. Then add the green beans and eggplants. Simmer for another 2-3 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables tender. Taste and season with fish sauce and palm sugar.
Toss through the basil leaves and serve with steamed rice.
- Thai eggplant is also known as apple eggplant and is a small, round bitter eggplant – find it in your Asian supermarket. You can also use regular eggplant or other vegetables such as zucchini or carrot.
- Krachai (also known as fingerroot or lesser galangal) is a fragrant aromatic often used in south-east Asian curry pastes or stir-fries. It’s available fresh in countries such as Thailand and Indonesia but is also available elsewhere pickled in jars. Search it out online or from an Asian grocery store.