Given our love for spicy food, Thai cuisine is a big hit in our house. It is, however, somewhat hard to find truly vegetarian Thai food since most restaurants use either fish or oyster sauce. So we have taken the DIY route and cook what we crave. The excellent “Real Vegetarian Thai” by Nancie McDermott was a serendipitous find and has been our go-to resource for many years. I have yet to find a bad recipe in that book.
So this year, when we decided to go the Thai route for Thanksgiving, “Real Vegetarian Thai” was eagerly sought out and consulted. The menu after much debate was – Lettuce Bites as an appetizer, Tom Yum soup as a first course, Butternut Squash Curry and Red Curry Vegetable Stir Fry as the main, served with boiled rice. The first two were dishes we had made before, the latter two, we hadn’t. Everything turned out really well.
It was quite a feast and there was much singing and dancing by the fire that night.
The one dish that was exceptional for me was the Butternut Squash curry. It was surprisingly simple to make and full of flavor. Something that one can whip up in a jiffy on a cold night. With the onset of winter I thought I’d post it. Here goes.
INGREDIENTS (for 4-6)
1 small butternut squash – about 1.5 pounds
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped shallots or yellow onion
1 Tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
1 tsp peeled and coarsely chopped ginger
2 fresh green jalapeno
3 Tbsp + 1/2 cup water
3/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1 sp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- Trim the top and bottom of the butternut squash. Peel the thick skin. Scoop out the seeds and cut into 1 inch cubes. Set aside.
- In a blender – combine shallots, garlic, ginger, chilies, 3 Tbsp water and cilantro – blend till you have a smooth paste. Add additional water if needed.
- In a saucepan, add about half the coconut milk and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, cook until it releases its sweet fragrance – about 3 minutes.
- Add the curry paste (from step 2) and cook for 2 minutes, mashing and scraping into the coconut milk.
- Add the remaining coconut milk, 1/2 cup water, sugar, salt and butternut squash.
- Raise to high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle boil and cook till the butternut squash is cooked – about 15 minutes.
- Serve with boiled white rice.