Versatile vegetable: As vegetarian dishes go, the chu chee eggplant ($10.95) at Nidda Thai (1226 Westheimer, 713-522-8895) is excellent — tasty and filling. Thick slices of eggplant are dipped in a thick batter and then deep-fried, giving the eggplant a crispy exterior and a sort of soft interior. But what makes the dish delicious is the addition of a red coconut curry sauce, redolent with kefir lime leaves. Dipping a slice of the crispy eggplant into the sauce turns the once-crispy eggplant to a soppy, but worthwhile, mess. A heaping helping of Thai rice not only softens the blow of the curry, it soaks it all up. — Paul Galvani
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