This Thai-inspired curry is a breeze to make and is completely adaptable to whatever vegetables you have lingering about. It’s a clean-out-the-fridge kind of meal, which, for me, means it’s a “Thursday” night meal—the only night of the week when I don’t plan out what I’m going to make. It’s the night I try to use up all of the leftover odds and ends in my fridge (for the other nights, I plan out what I’m going to make, scratching out a rough menu on the back of my grocery list—see why here). Last Thursday I unearthed an eggplant, 2 summer squashes and a few cooked potatoes (all slightly banged up), a tomato, and a few herbs from the garden. Since I had been testing French recipes all week, I decided to take an Asian approach. With a can of coconut milk and fish sauce from the pantry, some Thai red curry paste (which has been in the fridge for who-knows-how-long), a small knob of ginger and a handful of cashews, a simple but lovely curry was born.
The sauce for the curry couldn’t be easier. A can of coconut milk gets whisked with red curry paste, fish sauce and coconut or brown sugar. I’ve found that different red curry pastes can vary widely in their intensity and heat, so start with a little and add more if yours is on the mild side.
The vegetables can be switched and swapped according to what you have or like. Cauliflower, sliced red pepper, spinach, and even corn would be delicious. I added toasted cashews on top for a bit of sweet crunch, but they’re optional. Chicken or tofu would also be lovely additions.
I get a strange sense of happiness from seeing empty refrigerator shelves come Friday. Is it pride in not having wasted anything, or excitement that I get to fill the shelves right back up again? Time to plan out next week’s menu!
Simple Summer Vegetable Curry
- 1 14- ounce can coconut milk
- 1 ½ - 2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons organic , unrefined (extra virgin) coconut oil or grapeseed oil
- 1 pound eggplant (1 medium eggplant), cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 medium zucchini and/or yellow squash , cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 1 medium tomato , seeded and diced
- 2-3 small steamed or boiled red potatoes , cut into bite-sized pieces, optional
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil and mint , plus additional for garnish
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice , plus lime wedges for serving
- Cooked brown rice for serving
- Toasted cashews for garnish
- In a small bowl, whisk a bit of the coconut milk (about ¼ cup) with 1 ½ teaspoons red curry paste until smooth. Whisk in the rest of the coconut milk, along with the fish sauce and sugar. Taste and add another ½ teaspoon curry paste if you want a stronger flavor.
- In a large wok or skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and sauté, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Stir in the ginger, tomatoes and potatoes (if using); season with salt. Cook 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the coconut milk mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat; stir in the herbs and 1-2 tablespoons lime juice, to taste. Season with salt.
- Serve the curry over brown rice and garnish with toasted cashews, a sprinkle of herbs and a wedge of lime.