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Hell's Kitchen: Thai Aubergine & Chicken Curry

Curries are one of the best things you can make ahead and freeze for when you need them; they're quick, tasty and actually improve from being left as the flavours deepen and intermingle. As you may be able to tell from the contents of this blog, we eat a lot of Indian food, but this curry is a Thai dish that I've made up and am quite pleased with. Since sourcing some shrimp paste and some dried shrimps from a Korean supermarket on Golders Green Road, my Thai cooking has come on in leaps and bounds and I think this combination of salty seafood flavours is so flexible. Here, I've used aubergine and chicken as I had both things hanging around, but almost anything goes to be honest and you really don't need the meat at all if you don't wish.

You will need:

(Serves two)

1 stick lemongrass

Tbsp shrimp paste

Handful dried shrimp

Tsp turmeric

2 chillis

Tbsp minced ginger

Handful coriander stalks

2 cloves garlic

2 chicken thigh fillets

1 spring onion

100g rice

1/2 can coconut milk

Fish sauce


Make a paste by blending the inner leaves of the lemongrass with turmeric, ginger, garlic, chilli and coriander in a food processor or pestle and mortar.

Meanwhile cook off the aubergine in a large pan over a very high heat (don't use any oil) for about five or ten minutes. Once there is some colour to it, add chunks of chicken if using and seal off with a splash of coconut oil or a non-flavoured oil like groundnut. Then, add the two pastes, and mix well. Splash in a bit of fish sauce, then the rice and dried shrimps and muddle it all together. Add the coconut milk and top up with water or stock to cover. The rice should cook using the absorption method, slowly and gently, so keep an eye on it. It will take around 30 minutes. If you're cooking for the freezer, pop it in its tupperware and freeze immediately. When it comes to serving, add liberal amounts of lime juice and some freshly chopped spring onion and coriander for zest and freshness.

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