1 cup pork, shoulder cut or similar, sliced thin
3/4 teaspoon palm sugar
4 green thai eggplants
1/4 cup pea eggplants
1 red & 1 green :long chili:
1 teaspoon lime leaves (3-8 leaves)
2 tablespoons packed thai basil leaves (8-10 leaves)
3 cups coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon galangal, sliced into slivers
2 teaspoons magroot skin, sliced into slivers
1 1/2 tablespoons lemongrass, bottom of the stalk, sliced into rounds
1 1/2 tablespoons shallots, skin removed
2 1/2 tablespoons garlic, skin removed
2 1/2 tablespoons green small thai chilies, whole
3/4 teaspoon shrimp paste
Prepare the ingredients for the curry paste. Slice the lemongrass into thin rounds, peel the skin off the garlic & shallots, slice the galangal and the magroot skin into thin slivers, and remove the stems from the chilies.
In a stone mortar and pestle, start with the drier and harder ingredients first: add the galangal, magroot skin, lemongrass, peppercorns and salt. Smash together until a fairly uniform paste. This may take a few minutes.
Add the wet ingredients: the garlic, shallots and chilies. Do not add the shrimp paste yet. Smash until fairly uniform. This is homestyle curry, so the curry paste isn’t meant to look perfect like at the market. It’s ok (and even preferred) to have it a bit ‘chunky’, but it shouldn’t be not mixed. See picture for finished product.
When finished, add the shrimp paste and pound until mixed well.
Slice the meat into thin slices (as shown in the picture) and set aside. If using fresh coconut milk, separate the head from the tail (milk from cream) and place in two different bowls. If using canned coconut milk, don’t shake the can. Skim the top cream off and place it in a bowl, and place the rest in another. You’ll probably need to thin out the rest with another can’s worth of water, since canned coconut milk is much thicker than fresh.
Heat a wok over medium-high heat and add 1/2 cup of the coconut cream. It should be the same consistency of cow’s milk. If it’s a lot thicker, thin it down with water. Wait until it boils and the oil separates, this should take about 2 minutes.
Add all the curry paste, and mix well. Keep stirring and flipping the paste so it doesn’t burn. You’ll need to cook the paste for about 3 minutes until it becomes quite fragrant and you begin to sneeze. As the paste dries out, and starts to stick to the pan, keep adding more coconut cream a few tablespoons at a time. Don’t let the paste burn.
When the paste is finished cooking, add the meat and 1/2 cup of coconut cream. Cook the meat on medium heat for 15 minutes. Flip and stir every minute or two to prevent burning. If it’s too dry, keep adding coconut cream or milk. It should be a wet fry, almost a simmer. P-Mala said you’ll start to see a light green film, or oil rise to the top towards the end of the cooking time.
Add the palm sugar, and mix well.
Add the rest of the coconut milk (and water if using canned) and bring to a rapid boil. Then add the eggplants and long chilies, and boil for 2 minutes.
Add the lime leaves and basil, remove from heat and serve.