Another easy weeknight supper recipe, one of my favorite meatless suppers, though it makes a great side dish too. It's made from green beans and eggplant that get stirred into a sauce of coconut milk that's kissed with lime zest and fresh mint.
Globalization gets a bad rap in many circles but food-wise, what a boon! Who can imagine a day without coffee (imported mostly from Brazil) or sugar cookies without a hint of cinnamon (Sri Lanka) or steak with without freshly ground black pepper (Vietnam)?
The 100 Mile Diet encourages consumption of locally produced foods, ones that travel no more than a hundred miles. For St. Louisans like me, that means no further than from Cape Girardeau, Fort Leonard Wood and Columbia on the Missouri side, and from Quincy, Springfield and Marion on the Illinois side. No coffee or spices in that radius, I’m afraid!
This recipe calls for two imports that are personal pantry favorites. The first is canned unsweetened coconut milk, especially the low-fat version. The second is a small jar of Thai green curry paste.
So let’s compromise. Sure, do pick up locally grown eggplant and green beans in abundance just now at our farmers markets. But cook them with a couple of inexpensive, easy-to-find imports. As fast as you can think of the capital of Hungary (Budapest), supper will be on the table, packed with freshness and a delightful zing.
That, my fellow cooks, is the best of both, ahem, worlds.
EGGPLANT & BEAN THAI CURRY
Time to table: 30 minutes
Serves 4 (or 8 as a side dish)
EGGPLANT & BEANS
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 8 ounces fresh (see TIPS) green beans, trimmed & cut in two-inch lengths (see TIPS)
- 1 large eggplant (a pound or more), trimmed & peeled, sliced in ‘batons’ two inches long, half inch wide
COCONUT MILK SAUCE
- Zest of a lime (don’t skip!)
- 1 teaspoon Thai green curry paste (see TIPS)
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, light or regular
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- Slices of fresh lime for garnish, optional
EGGPLANT & BEANS [Using fresh green beans? Read the TIPS!] In a large skillet with a cover, heat oil till shimmery on medium. Add garlic and ginger, stir for a minute. Add beans and eggplant, stirring to coat after each addition. Cook for about 10 minutes until beans are nearly tender. Cover and cook until completely done, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl (see TIPS).
COCONUT MILK SAUCE Mix sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Add to hot skillet; stirring often, cook for about 5 minutes til slightly thickened. Stir in vegetables, tossing gently to coat, reheating completely.
COMBINE Stir in green onion, cilantro and mint. Serve immediately.
While you can buy light coconut milk, it can be hard to find and means keeping an extra can on hand and paying for water. Instead, I usually mix a 1:1 ratio of regular coconut milk and water. It's great!
"It looks like the dog's breakfast." So would say my grandmother about Eggplant & Bean Thai Curry. But it tastes so good! Still, if aesthetics are important, save some chopped green onion, fresh mint and lime slices for garnishing. This will make your eyes as happy as your tummy.
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