How do we grow? How do we discover the most raw version of ourselves? Not to jump into the philosophical topics so soon, but the answer is the reason I chose the following recipes and album. I believe that we grow and discover ourselves by going outside of our comfort zones, challenging ourselves and observing what happens when we do. I definitely got a head start with this early on. With my Dad being in the military and our family moving every three years, I didn’t have a choice! I actually love it. I start to get antsy after being somewhere for three years. When is the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone in regards to cooking from scratch? Or listening to an artist that isn’t your norm? I love discovering what I learn when I do this. So this brings me to Thai Curry and Common.
I’m not Thai and I never lived in Thailand. I really loved Brokedown Palace in high school. That was the closest I ever got to Thailand. Thai food has layers on layers and I love that depth in food. I have tried countless time to replicate those flavors at home. I think this recipe is the closest I’ve come. This curry will hopefully do two things. 1) Have you find an Asian grocery store. There is so much to look at in most of them and from all corners of Asia. Have fun doing this. Ask questions! And google the shit out of the things you find. I always do. 2) Buy and use ingredients you may not be familiar with. Oh the smells that come with this! One thing in particular I love about Thai curry is that it pushes the boundaries of my cooking yet is still entirely accessible.
I feel the same about Common. Hip Hop is something that I enjoy when I’m in the mood, working out or in the club. The latter rarely happens. The Dreamer/The Believer pushes my musical boundaries but again is entirely accessible. Common opens hip hop just enough while still keeping a beat and rhythm that I can listen to in the kitchen. If I was dancing my heart out, I wouldn’t be very skilled with a knife at that moment. My poor fingers. Plus I really loved listening to The Dreamer/The Believer while I made this recipe. For me, they complimented each other, ahem, like white on rice.
Vinyl: Common – The Dreamer/ The Believer
Thai Green Curry with Eggplant
Prep Time – 30 minutes
Cook Time – 15-20 minutes
Total Time – 45-50 minutes
Serves about 4.
o 3 tablespoons Coconut oil
o 2 Japanese Eggplant, chopped, bite sized pieces
o 3 garlic cloves, minced
o 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
o 2 inch piece of galangal, peeled and minced
o 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
o 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
o 3 tablespoons of green curry paste
o 2 cans whole coconut milk (avoid the lite)
o 5 dried kaffir lime leaves
o 2 lemongrass stalks, bruised and chopped into 3 inch pieces
o 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
o 1 tablespoon brown sugar
o 1 – 8 oz bottle of clam juice
o 1 green bell pepper, sliced into matchsticks
o 1 can of bamboo, drained and rinsed
o ½ cup Thai Basil leaves, whole
1. Heat around 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a deep pan until shimmering. Place the eggplant in the pan and cook until the eggplant becomes slightly brown and the skin starts to blister, around 4-5 minutes. Place the eggplant in a bowl and place pan back on heat.
2. Add one more tablespoon of coconut to the pan and add the garlic, galangal, cumin and coriander. Stir until it smells fantastic (about 1minute) then add the curry paste. Mix well and sauté until aromatic, less than one minute. Add the coconut milk, 1/2 of the can at a time, mixing with the curry mixture each time.
3. Add the kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, fish sauce and brown sugar and the rest of the can of coconut milk. Stir and heat, stopping just prior to the mixture boiling. Keep the mixture on a low heat and stir frequently to prevent curdling. Add the eggplant, bell pepper and bamboo and cook for 5-10 minutes until the pepper is tender. Remove from heat, throw in the basil leaves, stir and serve over brown rice.
If you absolutely cannot find some of the ingredients, this curry will still taste amazing if you at least have the cumin, coriander, garlic, curry paste and lemongrass. However it is this marriage of all of the ingredients that lend an excellent depth to this meatless curry. Most international sections of grocery stores have a few options. The two that may be the most difficult to find are the galangal and Thai basil. You may sub regular basil and garlic for galangal. To sub for the kaffir lime leaves, use 1 tablespoon of lime juice and 1 teaspoon of grated lime peel.
Want to make this vegan? Leave out the fish sauce but add in a few dashes of salt or soy/tamari sauce to the curry in place. Sub 8 oz of the clam juice with 8 oz of vegetable broth.
Another very tiny reason these pair well? Common used to be vegan and is now pescatarian. This recipe is technically pescatarian given that it has clam juice and fish sauce.