My unsuccessful attempt at making my own Thai red curry paste a few months back left me wanting to improve my Thai cooking skills, yet unsure of my ability to successfully put together a Thai-style veg dish at home. However, after seeing a recipe for Chickpea Vegetable Curry at Appetite for China, I decided to try again - this time with a commercial Thai red curry paste. (The recipe called for yellow curry paste, but I could not find a vegetarian yellow curry paste at the store, so I substituted red.)
I simmered some dried, soaked chickpeas in a crockpot while I was at work, then came home to assemble the curry. I began by sautéeing red onion, garlic and carrots, then stirring in coconut milk, curry paste and brown sugar. I then added the cooked chickpeas, and let the mixture cook for about ten minutes, before adding chopped spinach and Thai basil.
I really liked eating chickpeas in a Thai curry sauce, and would make the dish again. However, I'm not sure that the commercial curry paste is the answer for me. Perhaps I set myself up for disappointment by making the curry just a few days after my trip to Chada Thai, but the evening I made it, the sauce didn't taste much more authentic than the one I made myself. I thought that the flavor improved after the leftover curry sat overnight, but I still would not mistake it for a curry served in a Thai restaurant, as many on-line reviews of the Thai Kitchen red curry paste claimed.