Sizzle the paste in oil along with mushrooms and its flavors will sharpen into a spicy counterpoint to the creamy coconut milk. The chickpeas, while not traditional to Thai curry, are a satisfying addition, but you could use cubed tofu in their place.
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 3″ piece ginger
- 6 garlic cloves
- 2 medium shallots
- 1–2 green chiles (such as serrano or jalapeño)
- 2 limes, divided
- 1 Tbsp. light brown sugar
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more
- 4 baby bok choy or ¼ medium head of Napa cabbage
- 8 oz. shiitake mushrooms
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 15.5-oz. can chickpeas, drained
- 1 13.5-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
- 8 oz. dried rice noodles
- Large handful of unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
First thing is to bring a large pot of water to a boil for the noodles.
Meanwhile, prep the curry ingredients. Using a chef’s knife, coarsely chop stems from 1 bunch cilantro, working from the root ends all the way to where the leaves begin. (You should have about ½ cup stems.) Set some leaves with tender stems aside for serving and save the remaining leaves for your next cooking project. Peel one 3″ piece ginger with a spoon and thinly slice. Using the side of your knife, crush 6 garlic cloves; discard papery skins. Coarsely chop 2 medium shallots, then 1–2 green chiles (such as serrano or jalapeño), depending on your heat preference. Using a Microplane, finely grate zest from 1 lime. Set lime aside for serving.
Combine cilantro stems, ginger, garlic, shallots, chiles, and lime zest in a food processor or blender and add 1 Tbsp. light brown sugar, 1 tsp. ground coriander, and a big pinch of kosher salt. Purée, adding 1–2 Tbsp. water to loosen things up if needed, until a mostly smooth paste forms, about 1 minute. Set curry paste aside.
Cut 4 baby bok choy lengthwise into quarters. Or, if you are using ¼ medium head of Napa cabbage instead, coarsely chop. Set aside. Remove stems from 8 oz. shiitake mushrooms; discard. Tear caps into bite-size pieces.
Heat 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until golden brown and starting to shrivel, about 5 minutes. Season with kosher salt. Add reserved curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, until it begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, about 4 minutes.
Rinse one 15.5-oz. can chickpeas in a colander and add to mushroom mixture, then add one 13.5-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk and 2 cups water, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Season with 1 tsp. kosher salt and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until flavors come together and curry thickens slightly, 8–10 minutes.
Add reserved bok choy to curry and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes. Taste curry and season with more salt if needed.
While the curry is cooking away, cook 8 oz. dried rice noodles in pot of boiling water according to package directions. Drain noodles in a colander, then rinse thoroughly under cold water to stop them from cooking any longer. Shake off excess water and set aside until ready to serve.
Divide reserved noodles among bowls and ladle curry over. Cut reserved lime and 1 more lime into wedges. Coarsely chop a large handful of unsalted dry-roasted peanuts. Top curry with peanuts and reserved cilantro. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.