Thai-Style Curried Vegetables

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 kaffir lime leaves, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon finely minced lemon grass
1 large japanese eggplant, sliced
1 cup sliced string beans
1 cup seeded and julienned red bell pepper
1 to 2 ounces miniature corn or regular fresh corn kernels
1 or 2 ounces water chestnuts, chopped
1 cup whole shiitake mushrooms
1 teaspoon curry powder, or to taste
1/4 cup thai peanut dip
Thai Peanut Dip
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
2 kaffir lime leaves
1/4 cup julienned fresh thai basil
1/4 cup red curry paste
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon minced lemon grass
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the oil in a wok, and when very hot, stir-fry the lime leaves, garlic, and lemon grass over high heat for about 10 seconds. Stir in the eggplant, beans, bell pepper, corn, water chestnuts, and mushrooms, and stir-fry for 1 minute longer. Add the curry powder; after 15 seconds, add the Thai Peanut Dip and stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Remove: from the heat and serve.

Thai Peanut Dip
Combine all the ingredients in a non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Cook gently over low heat, taking care not to boil the mixture. When the sauce begins to thicken and the oils from the curry rise to the surface, adjust the sugar, soy sauce, and vinegar if necessary, and remove from the heat. Let cool and discard the lime leaves before serving.
Kaffir Lime Leaves - The leaves from the Kaffir lime tree have a strong floral fragrance. If dried leaves, soak in warm water for about 20 minutes before using. There is no substitute.

Serves 4

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