Do you have a specific type of food that you are always going out to eat? I definitely do. I would say that sushi is my number one indulgence in terms of eating out, but coming in a close second is Thai food. In general the food I go to restaurants for is stuff that is too complicated for me to be bothered making at home, or too expensive. I like to go out for sushi because it's fiddly to make at home, and super affordable to have in restaurants. I go out for Thai food because some of it is downright complicated to make, and can require a ton of special ingredients that I don't usually have in my home. Some Thai recipes can be very intimidating with their long lists of hard to source ingredients.
Recently my perspective on cooking Thai food at home shifted. I happen to work with a lovely Thai lady who introduced me to the world of cooking her native cuisine. She let me in on a big time saving secret, pre-made pastes. Instead of doing everything from scratch she buys jarred curry pastes. This "luxury" actually ends up saving her money since some of the items needed are rare, and she only needs a small amount so the rest goes bad. This revelation changed my world! Normally I make everything from scratch; pasta sauces, spice blends, salad dressings, you name it and I make it. The idea of buying a jar of pre-made ingredients always seems like cheating to me, not to mention an unnecessary added expense. My coworker actually laughed at me when I asked how she found the time and energy after her work day to go home and make delicious, homemade Thai meals; "all you do is open jars, chop things and then let them simmer." What? That's it?!? Naturally after learning this news I had to start cooking Thai food at home. About a year later I now have a mini repertoire of recipes I make on a regular basis. I still go out of Thai food, but I now I order different dishes that I haven't tried to make in the hopes of making them at home one day.
The recipe below is for a basic Thai red curry. Please note that Thai red curry paste is very different from green curry paste or curry powder. This cannot be substituted for anything else if you want red curry. There are some mild versions on the market, so if you don't like spicy food there are options for you. Feel free to use any dark leafy greens that you have on hand, I tend to use collard greens. I have used 9 little Indian eggplants, but 1 regular eggplant or 3 Asian eggplants would also work. I didn't bother to peel mine, but you can if that is your preference. If you prefer meat over tofu and can go ahead and use a pound of chicken thighs.
Thai Red Curry
4 Cups, Cooked Long Grain White Rice
1 Block Firm Tofu, Drained and Cut into 1 Inch Cubes
2 TBSP Oil
9 Indian Eggplants, Diced
2 TSP Chopped Garlic
1 Onion, Diced
1 TBSP Ginger, Grated
1 TBSP Thai Red Curry Paste
1 Can Coconut Milk
2 TBSP Fish Sauce*
1 TBSP Sugar
0.5 Lime, Zested and Juiced
0.25 TSP Salt
0.5 Bunch Collard Greens, Stems Removed, Leaves Chopped
0.5 Bunch Fresh Basil, Chopped
Heat oil in a wok
Fry eggplant and onions until soft
Add garlic, ginger, curry paste and stir well
Pour in coconut milk and bring to a boil
Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the oil from the curry paste starts floating on the top. This should take about 5 minutes.
Add fish sauce, sugar, zest, lime juice, salt, greens and tofu
Simmer until heated through and the greens are wilted
Remove from heat and stir in basil
Divide rice into four bowls and top with curry
*There are vegetarian "fish sauces" on the market if fish isn't part of your diet