1In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the lemongrass, cilantro, chiles, garlic, ginger, sugar, and turmeric to a paste. Set aside.
2In a large, deep frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil until very hot. Add the eggplant and cook, turning once, until browned on 2 sides, 3–4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
3In the same pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, then add the paste and shallots. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk, stock or water, and fish sauce, and stir well. Add the eggplant, and bring the liquid to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the eggplant is tender but not mushy, about 15 minutes longer.
4Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with cilantro, and serve with rice.
Finding the absolute best ingredients such a big part of Chef Antoine Westermann’s culinary career and the main drive behind all of his expertly crafted dishes. His relationship with farmers and purveyors are critical to his work as a chef. While visiting one of his providers in New York, the French chef describes his efforts to find the best local ingredients for his restaurant.