This has become the most popular dish in the restaurant. We wanted to do a twist on a red curry, using roasted European aubergines. We first cooked this for Ru’s cousin and it remains her favourite dish to this day. Don’t be scared to burn the edges, that’s where the flavour is!
For the paste
Firstly, toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a frying pan over a low heat until golden. Once cool, put them in a spice grinder with the dried Dutch chillies and blitz to a fine consistency. With a pestle and mortar, pound a small quantity of the lemongrass and galangal together until smooth, adding more until you have used them all. Add the salt and pepper, then the other ingredients one at a time, pounding the mixture to a fine consistency before adding the next. Finally, add the blitzed dry spices and mix well. If you are using a blender to make the paste, add all the fresh ingredients and blitz until fine. Then add the coriander and cumin seeds, chillies, salt and pepper.
For the curry
Preheat the oven to 180°c. Prepare the aubergines, cutting each one lengthways into 10 or 12 wedges. For each wedge, cut along the flesh making a deep incision nearly reaching the skin and repeat, leaving 1 to 2cm gaps between each cut. Put them onto a baking tray and drizzle with five tablespoons of the vegetable oil. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes until soft but still holding their shape. Don’t be alarmed if the edges burn slightly, this will give the finished curry extra flavour.
Put the remaining vegetable oil into a large pan on a low heat and add the curry paste. Cook the paste for a couple of minutes until you see the oil separate. Increase the heat and add the coconut milk, stock, green beans, spring onion, basil, lime leaves and sugar then cook for about 2 to 3 minutes while stirring continuously. Turn the heat down low, add the coconut cream and soy sauce, then simmer gently until the beans are cooked, which should take about 3 to 5 minutes.
Place the roasted aubergine wedges in a bowl and pour over the sauce. Garnish with basil leaves.
This Aubergine Curry Recipe by Oli’s Thai Restaurant in Oxford is from the Food and Kindness – a new cookbook to help raise awareness and funds for Sobell House hospice featuring a collection of over 30 stories and recipes from a wide range of celebrities – Mary Berry, Stephen Fry, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins – as well as Oxfordshire-based restaurants.