RECIPES / Green curry of beef with pea eggplants and chilies

Green curry of beef with pea eggplants and chilies

Green curry of beef with pea eggplants and chilies (Keang kheaw wan nuar)

Serves 2 with rice, more if part of a shared meal with other dishes

Almost everyone has eaten a Thai green curry: it is spicy, rich and pleasingly salty. Making your own paste and using Megachef fish sauce will transform your appreciate of this curry. Making the paste from scratch does take a little time and effort, but you’ll be well rewarded. You can make the curry paste a day or two in advance ¬– just keep it covered and refrigerated.

This particular green curry is hot, with quite a few green bird’s eye chilies. These impart a distinct aroma – and some fire to boot! Don’t worry about the amount of chilies I suggest, as the oil masks the heat – just don’t bite into them. Grachai is a wild ginger that can occasionally be found fresh in south-east Asian stores. It’s always available in a jar, but will need a thorough rinse to remove the saltiness of the brine.

Simmering the coconut cream until it separates enables you to fry the curry paste rather than boiling it. If you extract your own coconut cream from fresh coconut, it will split easily – it is just a matter of simmering it for several minutes until it becomes thick and slightly oily. Canned coconut cream, however, often contains stabilisers that prevent the cream from separating, so Thais will often cheat and fry the paste in a tablespoon of vegetable oil before adding the coconut cream. This results in a dappling of oil in the finished curry – but this is not a fault, it is a desired characteristic.

Once made, the curry can sit for up to 20 minutes, during which time it will settle and mature; in Thailand curries are often served at room temperature to enhance their flavour.


  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 200 g beef rump, sliced – I prefer to keep some of the fat attached
  • 2 tablespoons Megachef fish sauce
  • 1 cup coconut milk or stock
  • 2 tablespoons picked pea eggplants
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • About 10 bird’s eye chilies or 2–3 long red or green chilies, cut in half
  • Handful of Thai basil leaves
  • Steamed jasmine rice, to serve

Chilies in fish sauce

  • 5–10 bird’s eye chilies, sliced
  • 1 red shallot, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 3–4 tablespoons Megachef fish sauce
  • Good squeeze of lime juice – optional

Green curry paste

  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • a good pinch of cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon white peppercorns
  • a little grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon green bird’s eye chilies
  • 1 long green chili, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • good pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped galangal
  • 3 tablespoons chopped lemongrass
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated kaffir lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon cleaned and chopped coriander root
  • 1 teaspoon chopped red turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chopped wild ginger (grachai)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped red shallots
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Thai shrimp paste (gapi)


To make the chilies in fish sauce, place the chilies, shallot and garlic (if using) in a bowl and pour over the fish sauce. Leave to steep – the longer, the better, as the heat becomes quite mellow with time. If using the lime juice, squeeze it in just before serving.

Next make the curry paste. In a dry, heavy-based frying pan, roast the coriander and cumin seeds until aromatic, shaking the pan to prevent them from scorching. Grind to a powder using an electric grinder, along with the peppercorns and nutmeg. Using a pestle and mortar, pound the chilies with the salt, then add the remaining ingredients in the order they are listed, reducing each one to a fine paste before adding the next. Alternatively, puree the ingredients in an electric blender. You will probably need to add a little water to aid the blending, but try not to add more than necessary, as this will dilute the paste and alter the taste of the curry. Halfway through, turn the machine off and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then turn it back on and whiz the paste until it is completely pureed. Finally, stir in the ground spices.

Simmer the coconut cream over a medium heat until it begins to separate. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring regularly, for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the sliced beef and simmer in the paste for about 5 minutes before seasoning with fish sauce. Moisten with the coconut milk or stock and bring to the boil. Add the pea eggplants, then turn down the heat and simmer gently for a minute or so to cook until the eggplants are tender. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for a moment just to heat through.

Rest the curry for 10–20 minutes before serving with steamed rice and a small bowl of the chilies in fish sauce.

By Mr. David Thomson

06 May 2019 03:21PM
( Updated: 07 May 2019 10:08 PM )

Share :