Thai Basil Eggplant Curry

"This is the dish that taught me to give eggplant a second look. I first had it at Titaya's Thai restaurant here in Austin, Texas. Regarding quantities for the vegetables, the basic goal is to have about 50% eggplant and 50% everything else combined. Regarding flavor, the goal is to feature the eggplant and the zucchini; that's why they're cut larger than the other ingredients. Ingredients are listed in order of appearance in the film, and order and timing are key to best texture. As written, this is pretty damned spicy... enough to make your nose run. Oh yeah, and this makes a ton of food. You'll need a BIG pot to cook it in. If you don't have a big wok or a gumbo pot, cut the recipe in half."
photo by a user photo by a user
Ready In:
1 Huge pot of food


  • 13 cup peanut oil (or vegetable oil, etc.)
  • 3 tablespoons red curry paste (that's about 1/3 of a 4 ounce tin. Look for tins or jars in the Asian aisle of larger anglo grocery )
  • 3 -4 carrots
  • 4 small red potatoes
  • 2 large Japanese eggplants (or 1 and a half big black eggplants)
  • 2 small bell peppers (green, red, or preferably both)
  • 2 small onions
  • 2 large zucchini
  • 4 -5 basil sprigs (preferably Thai basil)
  • 1 (13 1/2 ounce) can coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 (11 ounce) can chicken broth (or water if you want to keep it vegan)
  • 3 tablespoons red curry paste (or another third your 4 oz tin, or go crazy and use a half a tin above and the other half here, if y)
  • white rice, to serve (preferably jasmine rice)


  • This is written to chop as you go, but if that makes you nervous or you don't think you can work quickly enough, just chop everything first. I'll bet you can do it the second time you make this, though. Again, this makes a LOT of food so you'll need a big wok or cook pot, or cut the quantities in half.
  • Put your rice on so it's cooking while you work. Follow the directions on the bag and set a timer if you have one because you'll be distracted. It'll be done before the food is ready but will stay plenty hot enough to serve.
  • Start with the carrots and potatoes; slice them fairly thin and saute them in the oil and 1/3 tin of curry paste on medium-high heat for five minutes. Cover and go to the next step.
  • Cut the eggplant into bite-sized cubes. You can peel the eggplant if you want but I think both texture and flavor is better if you leave the skin on. Add to the pan; saute, stirring occasionally, another five minutes. Cover and go on to the next step.
  • Slice the onion and bell pepper into fairly thin strips and add them to the pan; saute, stirring occasionally, another five minutes. Cover and go to the next step.
  • Cut the zucchini into bite-size pieces and add to the pan. Strip the basil leaves off their stems and add them too. Stir and cover. Just one more step and you're done.
  • Get a blender out and blend the can of coconut milk with one can full of chicken broth and the second 1/3 of red curry paste. Take a good long whiff of it. WOW! Remember to sneeze away from the food. Call one of your family in to smell it and laugh as they experience the same thing you just did, but not in a mean way so they won't get mad when you then ask them to set the table for you while you finish up. Get excited about how awesome this is going to be.
  • Add the coconut/chicken/curry liquid to the pan and let it come to a simmer. Once it's simmering you can check a potato or a carrot for doneness; they should be tender. Dinner's ready!
  • Serve in a bowl over steaming white rice and a box of Kleenex on the table because you're probably going to need it. Jasmine rice really is preferable for this. If you serve this worthy food over instant rice I swear I'll drive over there and whup you myself. Instant rice is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord.

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I love food and cooking, especially discovering new recipes here and trying them out. I also have a handful of my own recipes posted; try one out and let me know how it turns out!
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