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Northern Thai Curry Pork with Eggplant


Thai curry pork
This recipe for Thai pork curry originates in the north of Thailand near Burma, and displays wonderful influences from that region. If you prefer, chicken makes a great substitute for pork in this curry (whole chicken pieces, with the bone, work really well!). Eggplant is delicious in this dish, but you can easily substitute potatoes or add other vegetables of your choice. If you're the sort of cook who likes trying new dishes from different regions of the world, give this one a go. You're sure to enjoy making - and eating - this sumptuous Northern-Thai/Burmese curry!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: SERVES 4


  • 1 lb boneless pork, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 eggplant, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cooking onion, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. grated ginger
  • 2+1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato puree/ketchup
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • handful fresh basil or coriander
  • optional: fresh-cut red chili
  • 2 stalks finely minced lemongrass, OR 3 Tbsp. frozen prepared lemongrass
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. shrimp paste, OR 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper OR 1/2 tsp. chili flakes (to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. palm sugar or brown sugar, or more to taste
  • 1/2 Tbsp. tamarind paste
  • 1 Tbsp. ground bean sauce OR substitute 1 Tbsp. hoisin sauce


  1. Place all 'Curry Paste' ingredients together in a food processor or blender. Process well to create a dark, spicy paste mixture. Place prepared pork in a bowl and add paste, stirring to coat. Set aside to briefly marinate while you go on to the next step.
  2. Place a little oil in a large wok or deep-sided frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry until onion softens (add a little water to the wok/pan when it becomes dry) - about 2 minutes.
  3. Add pork (with all the paste) and stir-fry until opaque on outside, about 3 minutes. Stir in the stock and tomato puree/ketchup, and bring to a bubbling boil. Reduce to a simmer (medium-low heat) and cover with a lid. Cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add eggplant and simmer another 10 minutes, or until eggplant is soft and slightly translucent.
  5. Reduce heat to low and add coconut milk. Taste-test the curry, adding 1 Tbsp. or more fish sauce if not salty or flavorful enough (I usually end up adding 1/2 Tbsp). If too salty, add a squeeze or two of lime or lemon juice, or a little more tamarind. If too spicy or watery, OR if you'd like a richer taste, add more coconut milk.
  6. To serve, scoop the curry into bowls with Thai jasmine rice on the side. Sprinkle with fresh basil and fresh-cut chilies, and ENJOY!

About Coconut Milk in this Curry: I usually add 1/4 to 1/3 cup coconut milk to this curry, even though it's not strictly authentic to Northern Thai cooking (Northern curries are quite watery). Try it first without if you like, and see what you prefer. Personally, I find the coconut milk makes for a richer-tasting and thicker curry.

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