For whatever reason, we’ve been getting a lot of Asian eggplant and bok choy in our vegetable box recently. I do like them both, but I do sometimes wonder what to make with them. Maybe it’s partly I seem to have gone off the simple stir fries we used to have often in the past (for reasons I can’t really explain). Or maybe I keep thinking I can make something my son will eat too. But then I come round to the fact his days of expanding pallette are gone for a little while. I can sneak eggplant into moussaka, as long as I take the skins off what I serve him, but that’s about it. Then I decided I may as well use them in something my husband and I could have for lunch. I immediately decided to make a vegetarian Thai red curry, and we both loved it.
Spice for some
While fragrant chicken curry is one of my elder son’s favorites, he’s not good with anything remotely spicy. As a result, I don’t make spicy dishes all that often unless I either have two Indian curries, with one being the chicken that he can have, or make something entirely different for him. He is often happy with the alternative, but I prefer to have us all eating the same as far as possible. That’s why I thought this vegetarian Thai red curry would be great as a lunch when he eats at a different time due to school anyway.
We have always loved Thai curries but tended to have Thai green curry more often, as I had a good recipe. However a while back I tried my hand at a Thai red curry and we both loved it. For whatever reason, it has been a while since we had it and making this vegetarian version reminded us we should have it more often.
I say vegetarian Thai red curry, but in actual fact this version is vegan. And not that I have anything against it, but there’s no tofu in sight, just lots of tasty vegetables and noodles. I have used Asian eggplant and bok choy, as I already mentioned, as well as a number of other things I had on hand. However really, you can use whatever you like. Plus, the quantities are simply a guide. You can equally make it more or less soup-like with more or less stock and coconut milk.
Tips for making vegetarian Thai red curry
As with many dishes that are semi-stir fried, it’s always good to chop up all of your ingredients before you start cooking. You also blend up the sauce before, ready to add when you need it. Despite the little bit of prep, this is a really easy dish to make. You simply cook the vegetables, add the sauce and cook a minute before adding stock and coconut milk. Let it cook a few minutes as you cook the noodles then add them and serve. If you are using anything other than somen noodles, as I have here which are really thin, it may be as well to cook them before and set aside to save overcooking the main curry.
Vegetarian Thai red curry is easy to make, full of delicious creamy coconut and spicy flavors but so much better, and no doubt better for you, than any takeout. Give it a try today and see for yourself.
Vegetarian Thai red curry (from scratch)
Making Thai red curry from scratch is easier and quicker than you might think, and so delicious.
For the red curry paste
- 2 red chilis
- 1 tbsp ginger chopped, approx 1 1/4in/3cm
- 1/4 red onion or 1 shallot
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp lemongrass paste or 1 stalk, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp cilantro/coriander stalks
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili powder (or more if you want it hotter)
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp tomato paste/puree
- 2 tbsp coconut milk
- 2 tsp tamarind paste (less if concentrated)
- 8 oz Asian eggplant 225g aubergine
- 6 oz bok choy 170g
- 1 carrot large
- 1/2 red pepper
- 3 oz asparagus 85g
- 2 cups light stock 480ml (vegetable, to keep recipe vegan, or chicken if not)
- 1/2 cup coconut milk 120ml
- 3 oz somen noodles 85g (1 bundle)
First, make the curry paste. Remove the stem from the chilis, peel the ginger, onion/shallot, garlic and lemongrass. Trim the cilantro/coriander stalks and cut all of them pretty small. You want to break up the fibrous bits that the food processor/blender may struggle with.
Place all of the above along with the remaining sauce ingredients in the food processor or blender and pulse until a smooth paste. Refrigerate until ready to use, as required.
Before you start cooking, prepare the vegetables. Cut the eggplant in quarters lengthwise then cut in to medium lengths. Cut any thicker lengths again lengthwise. Remove the leaf part from the bok choy and slice both the stem and leaves but keep separately. Cut the carrot into batons (julienne) and slice the pepper. Cut the asparagus into medium lengths.
Heat a little vegetable oil in a stir fry pan or large skillet over a medium-high heat. First add the eggplant, cook a couple minutes until it's softening, stirring so it doesn't stick. Add the bok choy stalks, carrot and pepper. Cook a few minutes until they are softening as well. Add the asparagus and cook another minute then add the bok choy leaves.
Add the stock and coconut milk then bring to a simmer. Simmer for around 5-mins. Meanwhile cook the noodles according to packet instructions. Drain them and divide between your bowls then top with the curry.
Try these other tasty vegetarian curries:
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