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Vegan Thai green curry with aubergine (Thai eggplant) and faux beef + green curry paste recipe

Green curry paste utilises fresh green chilies that lose their pungency and aroma with time, so if you only ever make one curry paste let it be green! But store bought is okay too. This curry paste recipe makes about 135 grams, or a scant ¾ cup of paste. so you will have plenty leftover for future curry pots too.
Cuisine: Thai
Servings: 135 grams

Equipment

  • Pestle and mortar

Ingredients

Green curry paste ingredients

  • 1 ½ teaspoons coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon white peppercorns
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 10-15 green bird’s eye chillies (a few red are fine)
  • 2-3 long green Thai, Dutch, jalapeño, serrano, or other larger green chilli on the milder end of the Scoville scale (approx 30 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons finely sliced lemongrass from lower bit of stem with purple rings only (15 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped galangal (7 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon makrut lime zest or finely minced peel
  • 2 teaspoons chopped coriander root or 3 teaspoons chopped coriander stem
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (17 grams)
  • ¼ cup finely sliced shallot (25 grams)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vegetarian shrimp paste see notes1

Green curry ingredients

  • 150 grams Thai green aubergine also called apple eggplant
  • Acidulated water see notes2
  • 60 millilitres thick coconut milk or cream
  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil or vegetable oil
  • 50 grams green curry paste (about 2 ½ tablespoons)
  • 250-300 millilitres thin coconut milk see notes3
  • 3 makrut lime leaves, torn
  • 1-2 teaspoons light palm sugar
  • 2 teaspoons thin soy sauce see notes4
  • 15 grams TVP, rehydrated and then drained see notes5
  • 1-2 long red chillies sliced on the diagonal
  • ¼-⅓ cup Thai basil leaves

Instructions

Make the green curry paste

  • Toast the coriander seeds and cumin seeds over medium heat by shaking them around in a pan for until fragrant (30-60 seconds). Grind to a powder, along with the white peppercorns, using a pestle and mortar. Remove the powder to a smaller bowl.
  • Pound the salt and chillies to a paste in the mortar, followed by the lemongrass. Continue in the order of ingredients listed, ensuring each is pounded into a smooth paste before adding the next. This may take 20-30 minutes.
  • When the paste is smooth, add the toasted ground spices and pound together.

Make the green curry

  • Slice the aubergines in halves or quarters, depending on size, and place in a bowl with a teaspoon of lemon/lime juice or citric acid. This step is optional but will help keep the eggplant from discolouring.
  • Heat the thick coconut milk/cream and oil in a saucepan on medium high heat, stirring frequently, until the water begins to evaporate off and the liquid begins to separate into oily pools (the surface will appear initially as a thicker white solids with little holes). If this doesn’t happen after 8-10 minutes, just carry on with the recipe anyway.
  • Knock the heat down to medium-low and add the curry paste, stirring to coat in the oil. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the smell of raw garlic and shallot has cooked off. 
  • Add the thinner coconut milk, lime leaves, palm sugar, soy sauce, and rehydrated TVP. Bring the curry to a boil and then turn the heat down to maintain a simmer (small, occasional bubbles).
  • Drain away the acidulated water from the aubergines and add them to the curry. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until the eggplants are tender but not mushy. They should still have a little bit of crunch to them.
  • The flavour profile is meant to be salty and spicy, with a hint of sweetness. Taste for salt and season with additional soy sauce to taste.
  • Add sliced chillies and basil leaves. Serve with jasmine rice.

Notes

  1. You can use dark miso or preferably Korean doenjang in place of vegan shrimp paste. See my guide to vegan alternatives to shrimp paste, fish sauce, and oyster sauce in Thai cuisine for more information.
  2. Make acidulated water by adding enough water to cover the aubergines, plus a teaspoon either lemon/lime juice or citric acid.
  3. My preference is for thinner curries, so I like to use a 1:1 ratio of thicker coconut milk to water here. You can read more about the difference between coconut milk and cream in my primer on how to make Thai coconut curries.
  4. Speaking of primers, check out my guide to Thai soy and seasoning sauces.
  5. I used TVP (textured vegetable protein) beef slices like these, but a handful or two of any mock beef (or even tofu) will do nicely.