Monday, 13 July 2009

A Twist on Curry at Home

Until two Sundays ago I'd only made stew-style curries. However, thanks to a suggestion from my sister I opted to attempt to make something different, a curry stir-fry. The inspiration to cook curry thanks to my discovering a vegetable that I haven't found that often in town: Thai eggplants. Eggplants come in various shapes and sizes, and I don't recall ever having Thai eggplants beforehand. Unlike ones commonly used in Italian cuisine, which are fairly large, wide and great for grilling, or those used in Chinese cuisine, which are long, slender and lend themselves better to stir-fries and hot pots, Thai eggplants are small and round. With the urge to try cooking these little vegetables, and still having some red curry paste to use, I decided to do a shrimp and eggplant stir-fry.

For this dish I used eight Thai eggplants chopped into bite-sized pieces, twenty large shrimp (seasoned with corn starch, pepper and Chinese cooking wine), one chopped medium onion, two cloves of chopped garlic, a large handful of basil (the larger leaves torn apart), and a heaping tablespoon of red curry paste (stirred and broken up in a teaspoon of hot water). I first stir-fried the shrimp briefly, pre-cooking them so that at least their exteriors were pink. Setting them aside, I then added a bit more oil and stir-fried the eggplant, garlic and onions until the onions were cooked and the eggplant started to soften, adding a splash of water in the beginning to allow some of the steam to do a bit of cooking as well and a pinch of salt . I then added the shrimp and finished cooking them together, shortly thereafter adding the curry paste. With all the ingredients well mixed and coated, I turned off the heat and finally added the basil, stirring the mixture further before I served it. I thought there was no need for me to add more salt, and I didn't add any more chillis to keep the dish generally mild, though saltiness and spiciness is naturally at every person's discretion.

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