Kabocha Squash Thai Red Curry
This dish is fairly spicy, but if you want it even spicier, add one or two bird’s eye chilies or add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. You can omit the chicken for a perfectly hearty vegetarian stew.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- 2 small kabocha squashes (about 3 1/2 pounds)
- Olive oil
- 2 cups jasmine rice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 large chicken breasts (about 1 pound), cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 to 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (Thai Kitchen has a good one)
- One 15-oz can coconut milk
- 2 Thai bird’s eye chilies or ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, only if you want it extra spicy!) (use a pair of scissors to cut them into small pieces)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon raw sugar
- 5 to 6 oz French beans, halved
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
- ½ yellow onion, quartered
- Small handful of cilantro, chopped
- 5 to 7 basil leaves, torn (if you can find Thai basil, it’s even better)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the squashes in half and spoon out the seeds. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and brush olive oil on it. Put the squashes in a baking pan, meat side down. Roast for 30 minutes, or until tender but firm when pierced with a knife.
Start cooking the rice in either a pot or a rice cooker. It will take about 20 minutes simmering on the stovetop or 30 minutes in the rice cooker.
In a large wok or deep fry pan, warm the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and sear until light brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Use tongs to transfer the chicken to a bowl.
Add the curry paste to the pan and mix it with the oil. Stir them together over medium heat until fragrant, for about 10 seconds. Spoon off the thick layer of coconut milk in the can and add that to the paste in the pan. Mix together. Slowly pour in the rest of the milk and keep stirring until the paste is mixed together (about a minute or two).
Add ¼ cup water to the sauce, along with the chilies or cayenne pepper (if using), fish sauce, and sugar. Bring to a simmer.
Spoon out the orange meat of the squash. Add the chicken, squash, bell peppers, green beans, onions, basil, and cayenne (if using), and stir over medium-high heat until the vegetables are cooked but still a little crisp.
Enjoy with the hot rice, garnished with cilantro.
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