Basil-Coconut Curry

Dave and I, after much painful trial and error, have declared Sundays “socializing-free zones,” which means that except for major occasions–like a friend’s recent wedding–we don’t make plans with other humans on Sundays.

It’s our day to sleep late, do laundry, cook for the week, taunt the cat about being a skinny-ass Zombie beast, read books, take a nap, sit in the yard and think about nothing… or scrap all of that and just lie in bed with the A/C cranked while watching an entire season of a TV show on DVD.

Once the chores are done, we reward ourselves with Dinner & A Movie™. Our dining room table faces the TV, so we dim the lights and sit side-by-side, just like the Alamo Drafthouse, only Paleo-Zone-friendly and free.

This week we watched the Judd Apatow/Will Ferrell film Step Brothers.

On the menu: Basil-Coconut Curry. I give the dinner 4 stars; my compliments to the cook (me!). The movie gets 4 stars for making me laugh out loud so many times, and 1 star for grossing me out just as frequently.

Basil-Coconut Curry | meljoulwan.comBasil-Coconut Curry

Serves 2-4 | Prep 15 minutes | Cook 20 minutes | Whole30 compliant

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

  • 1/2 medium onion, diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can coconut milk

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (Red Boat is paleo friendly!)

  • 1 large Japanese eggplant, cut into strips

  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips

  • 12 ounces green beans, trimmed

  • 1 jalapeño pepper, sliced into rings

  • 1 pound whole shrimp or boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts (cut into very thin slices)

  • a handful fresh basil leaves

  • fresh lime


In a small bowl, combine salt, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, turmeric, chili powder, ginger, and cloves. Blend with a fork and set aside.


Heat the coconut oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat, about 2 minutes. Add onion and cook until softened, about 7-10 minutes. Add the garlic and spice blend to the onions and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.


Pour the coconut milk and fish sauce into the pan and stir well to combine. Add the eggplant, bell pepper, green beans, and jalapeño. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until the vegetables are almost tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add the shrimp or chicken and basil leaves, then cook covered—5 minutes for shrimp, 7-10 for chicken.


Place in serving bowls and sprinkle with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Awesome on a bed of Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Rice.

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  • Barbara says:

    I heart your recipes! you have completely inspired me to eat more veggies..wohooooo

  • MelissaG says:

    For some reason I really want to watch the movie now. Is that wrong considering I'm not 14 or a boy?

  • Melicious says:

    Seriously. I was embarrassed by how much it made me laugh 'cause it was SO dumb and bad. But I couldn't help myself. It's like when you're 14 and at a slumber party and you just get giggly and can't stop. Like that. Loved it.

  • Catherine Hart Rebholz says:

    YUM! As soon as I am easing Nightshades in…I'm trying this one. I'm totally in love with everything I have tried from your blog so I know this is going to rock…just like you!

    Veggie Report:
    1 entire cucumber
    3 cups spinach
    1/4 cup chopped carrots
    8 snowpeas
    1/3 cup green beans
    1/4 cup water chestnuts (paleo?)
    about 4 cups romaine lettuce
    1/8 cup chopped mushrooms

    Sleep Report:
    finally fell asleep at 11pm but was lucky enough to sleep in till 8am. So I got my 9 hours! BUT, my hubby had 2 sneezing explosions in the middle of the night (bad allergies) so I lost some quality in the middle there. Overall B+ sleep.

    I'm super craving carbs today.
    Ate WAY too many almonds to satisfy craving.

    How is everyone else?

  • Littles says:

    That movie is hilarious!
    So you are stuck with the weight loss thing, I'm wondering if you ever do a cheat meal, like full blown, once a month or so. Or does that fall into your "don't ever cheat" catagory? Or are you referring to workouts? I ask because a lot of people have the theory that it jump starts the metabolism. personally if I do that once a week I just don't lose weight.
    What do you think?

  • Erin says:

    I'm in love. I'm typing this message with my bowl of chicken curry on the table. I took two bites and had to write about how good this is! Thanks for sharing the recipe 🙂

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Erin –> Thanks for typing between bites! Glad you like it!

  • Margaret says:

    I can’t tell you how many times I have made this recipe and many others on your site. Love it!

  • Mark Taylor says:

    Needed a late night (Whole30 compliant) meal after a long jam session, so when I got home I decided to make this with some pork I had (3rd meal with these lovely country cut boneless rib). Of course, I didn’t have any leftovers so I had to “make the leftovers” first” (cooked up some carrots for the vegetable). Even so, it took very little time to make and was just amazing! Been cooking a lot from your site this week (Day 6 today). Can’t wait to get the book!

    • Mel says:

      Glad to hear the coconut curry saved the day. It SUCKS to be super hungry and scavenging the fridge — coconut milk + protein + veg is a handy trick. YAY!

  • Stacey says:

    This sounds super tasty! I am glad someone else loves that movie. I think it is genius in it’s stupidity. Always makes me laugh so hard my tummy hurts. My favorite movie in the stupid category.

  • Michelle says:

    OMG, this was awesome! Thank you so much for posting the recipe. I just made the curry for dinner using ground beef. Will definitely be making again and again.

  • Lara says:

    Omg love it…on my whole 30…making it for the second time tonight and added squash.

  • Scott says:

    Wife said this was the best meal i have cooked in our 10 year relationship. Im usially a meat and vege paleo cooker so tha ks