About two years ago we left Sweden to travel the world with Elsa. She was only six months old at the time, and we had no idea what to expect or how things would go. I remember when we sat there in the airplane just before take-off; It all starts here, I thought to myself. And it definitely did. After a few unbelievable months in California, China and Vietnam, we finally ended up in Thailand. We spent our time there on beaches, in small bungalows and at exotic markets, completely isolated from the reality. Those months were magical. And our little family became tighter than we had ever been before.
As I sit here in our bedroom, watching the dark silhouettes outside and feeling the cold air from the windows, that whole trip feels like a distant dream. One way of making that dream less unreal is to look through all the travel photos that we have. Another is to simply enter the kitchen.
We recreated this curry from a faded memory of a dinner that we had on the beach of Koh Tao. What we remember most strongly about it was the distinct lemongrass flavor and the softly cooked aubergine that nearly melted on our tongues. In Thailand they often use a much smaller type of aubergine, but since they are hard to come by here, we used a large one that we cut in wedges. The brussel sprouts and apples are our own seasonal add-ins. Brussels sprouts might seem unconventional in a curry, but they fit right in. And the apples add a nice sweetness to it.
It’s remarkable how a memory can be so easily activated by a flavor or smell. I just have to take the backside of my knife and crush a stalk of lemongrass, and I’m right there on that beach again.
Lemongrass, Aubergine & Brussels Sprout Curry
3 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 inch (2, 1/2 cm) fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 stalks lemongrass, crushed and finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp mustard seeds, ground in a mortar
1 medium size aubergine/eggplant, cut in wedges
2 small apples, cut in small dices
1 cup (240 ml) water
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 can (1 2/3 cup / 400 ml) coconut milk
3 cups (300 g) brussels sprouts, cut in halves
1-2 tsp sea salt
Black rice for 4 persons
A handful fresh thai basil and fresh coriander/cilantro
Heat oil in a large pot on medium high heat. Add garlic and sauté for about a minute, then add all 5 spices, lower the heat a bit and stir constantly to ensure they do not burn. Add the aubergine wedges one by one. Make sure all wedges get soaked in the spicy oil. Then add the apple and fry everything for a few minutes. Add water and apple cider vinegar, cover with a lid and let cook for about 20 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Meanwhile, cook the black rice. Add coconut milk, brussels sprouts and salt to the curry and let simmer for about 10 minutes more. Stir in a generous handful of fresh thai basil and coriander. Serve with black rice and some salad on the side.