To serve:coriander sprigs, Thai basil leaves, thinly sliced long green chillies and steamed rice
2small red shallots, coarsely chopped
2coriander roots, scraped and coarsely chopped
2small green chillies, coarsely chopped
1clove of garlic, coarsely chopped
1stalk of lemongrass, coarsely chopped
½long green chilli, coarsely chopped
½ tbspcoarsely chopped galangal
½ tspfinely chopped fresh turmeric (see note)
½ tspshrimp paste, roasted
½ tspeach of white peppercorns and coriander seeds
For curry paste, process ingredients, using a blender or food processor, until finely chopped, adding a little cold water if necessary to make a paste.
Cook coconut cream in a large heavy-based saucepan or wok (large enough to hold fish) over medium-high heat until ‘cracked’ (1-2 minutes, see note). Add curry paste, cook until colour changes and paste smells cooked (2-3 minutes). Add fish sauce and coconut milk, bring to the boil, then add fish and lime leaves. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 5-7 minutes. Turn fish, add eggplant, cover and cook until fish is cooked through (5-7 minutes). Scatter with herbs and chilli and serve immediately with rice passed separately.
Note Fresh turmeric is available from Asian grocers. If unvailable, substitute ground turmeric. To roast shrimp paste, wrap in foil, place in a frying pan over medium-high heat and cook for 2-3 minutes. Coconut cream has ‘cracked’ when the oil separates and rises to the surface.