- 40 gm lard or sunflower oil
- 425 ml canned coconut cream, unshaken
- 250 ml (1 cup) coconut milk
- 1 whole chicken (1-1.5kg), cut into 12 pieces
- 250 ml (1 cup) chicken stock
- 75 ml fish sauce (or to taste)
- 2 tbsp soft palm sugar
- 10 apple eggplant (see note), quartered and placed in acidulated water
- 3 long green silken Thai eggplant (see note), cut into 4cm chunks and placed in acidulated water
- 1½ cups pea eggplant (see note), trimmed and placed in acidulated water
- 15 makrut lime leaves, deveined and torn
- 4 long red chillies, whole or thinly sliced (optional)
- 2½ cups (loosely packed) Thai basil, with flowering tops
- Steamed jasmine rice or fermented rice noodles (see note), to serve
- 10 white peppercorns, dry-roasted
- 2 tsp coriander seeds, dry-roasted
- 1 tsp cumin seeds, dry-roasted
- 6 gm (1cm piece) galangal, thinly sliced
- Peeled zest of 1 makrut lime, coarsely chopped
- 1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, thinly sliced
- 4 red shallots, coarsely chopped
- 10 long green chillies, coarsely chopped
- 15 green birdseye chillies, coarsely chopped
- 1 head of garlic, cloves coarsely chopped
- 5 coriander roots, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp shrimp paste
- ½ cup birdseye chilli leaves (optional; see note)
- 1For curry paste, finely grind spices with a mortar and pestle. Add remaining ingredients in order of toughness with ½ tsp salt, pounding them to a paste (alternatively, blend in a food processor until smooth, but the mortar and pestle will give you better colour and fragrance).
- 2Heat lard in a large wok or saucepan over medium heat. Add curry paste and the head of coconut cream skimmed from top of can, and stir until fragrant and oil separates (12-15 minutes). Add coconut milk and simmer over low heat until thickened (30 minutes). Increase heat to high, add chicken and stock, cover with a lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked and flavour deepens (30 minutes). Add fish sauce, seasoning to taste, and stir in palm sugar and remaining coconut cream.
- 3Increase heat to medium, then drain eggplant, add to wok, and simmer until tender (5 minutes). Remove from heat, stir in lime leaf, chilli and basil, and serve with rice.
Apple, green and pea eggplant are available from select Asian and Thai grocers. Substitute purple Japanese eggplant. Fermented rice noodles, or kanom jeen, are available from select Asian grocers. Substitute rice or somen noodles. If you have a chilli plant, add some leaves to the curry paste.
Drink suggestion: Rich, textural orange wine. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.