4 green bird eye chilies
2 heaped tbsp chopped lemon grass (2 large stems)
6 fresh lime leaves (you can use freeze-dried if fresh are unavailable)
roots or stalks from 4 fresh coriander sprigs, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
50 gr (2 oz) fresh ginger, peeled and cut into shreds
3 heaped tbsp fresh coriander leaves
For the curry
3 tbsp groundnut or other flavourless oil
2 large shallots, peeled and finely siced
2 small aubergines, sliced into 4 lenghtways
12 cherry tomatos, halved
250 ml (9 fl oz) coconut milk
1 tbsp nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
295 gr (10 1/2 oz) large peeled cooked prawn
10 gr (1/2 oz) fresh basil leaves
handful fresh coriander leaves
2 large lime leaves
10 gr (1/2 oz) fresh mint leaves
First make the spice paste: Discard the stems and seeds from the chillies, then chop the flesh and tip it into either the jug of a blender or a food processor, then add the lemon grass. Roll the lime leaves tightly, slice them into fine shreds and add along with the coriander roots or stalks, garlic and ginger. Add the coriander leaves, then blitz to a paste with enough water to make the mixture go round (2-3 tbsp). Continue to mix until you have a coarse paste, pushing it down with a spatula every now and again to make sure it is well mixed.
Warm 2 tbsp of the oil in a shallow pan, then add the shallots and cook them over a moderate-to-high heat until they are golden and soft. Add the aubergines, letting them soften and colour - expect them to take about 5-7 minutes. Scoop the shallots and aubergines out into a dish then add a further tablespoon of oil to the pan.
When the oil is warm, add the green spice paste. Let it fry briesfly - the water will evaporate - and the add the cherry tomatoes to the pan. Continue cooking for a few minutes then return the shallots and aubergine and pour in the coconut milk. Season with the nam pla, adding more if you wish. Slip the prawns into the sauce and leave to cook for a minute or two - no longer - until they are warmed through.
Chop the basil and coriander leaves roughly. Roll and finely shred the lime leaves, then spoon the curry onto some steamed white rice and divide the herbs between them, scattering the mint leaves on top.