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Vegetarian Red Curry Vegetables (Gangkuwa Phak)

4 tbs / 60 ml oil
2 - 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbs / 30 ml red curry paste
16 oz / 500 ml coconut milk
4 tbs / 60 ml soy sauce
2 tsp / 10 ml sugar
2 - 4 small Thai chilies, finely sliced lengthwise
2 Japanese eggplants, cut in 1/2 inch diagonal slices
2 cups assorted fresh vegetables (snow peas, mushrooms, bell pepper)
4 kaffir lime leaves, de-veined and finely sliced
15+ leaves basil

Heat the oil in a wok, add the chopped garlic and fry until golden
brown. Add the curry paste, stir with the garlic and cook for a
little over a minute. Stirring briskly after each addition, add
half the coconut milk, all the sugar and the soy sauce.

As the curry thickens add the eggplant and remaining vegetables,
followed by the rest of the coconut milk. When the eggplant is
almost tender, add the lime leaves and chili and cook for another
couple of minutes. (If your wok is hot enough the vegetables should
cook very quickly). Garnish with the basil leaves and serve with
or over steamed Jasmine or Sweet Thai Rice. (Experimenting with
different types of basil gives this dish subtle aromatic and flavor
variations).

Makes four servings.


Red Curry Paste (Gaeng Pet)

8 Dried long red chilies, de-seeded and chopped
1 tsp / 5 ml ground coriander seed
1/2 tsp / 2.5 ml ground cumin seed
1 tsp / 5 ml ground white pepper
4 tbs / 60 ml chopped garlic (about eight small cloves)
2 stalks lemon grass, finely chopped
3 corriander roots, chopped
1 tsp / 5 ml chopped Kaffir Lime skin
1 inch / 2.5 cm galangal (kha) finely chopped
2 tsp / 10 ml light soy sauce
1 tsp / 5 ml salt

Coriander with the root still attached can be hard to locate if
you don't grow your own. Organic produce markets or farmers markets
are often a good bet when fresh herbs are available. Add a little
more coriander seed if the root cannot be found.

Kaffir limes are different from the standard variety. Their skin
is very knobbly. If you can't find the kaffir lime use kaffir lime
leaves, which are available at Thai and some other asian markets.

Blend all of the above using a mortar & pestle or an electric
grinder. (You'll need a very large mortar to do this efficiently).
The result should be a smooth paste, which can be frozen for future
use. Makes about 4 tbs / 60 ml paste.

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