Pumpkin Curry is one of my favorite things to order at Thai restaurants. Luckily, it is also a meal that you can make at home and end up with restaurant-quality results.
I usually use a butternut squash, but if you have an Asian grocery store nearby, kabocha squash works really well. It is a small green pumpkin that doesn’t get mushy or stringy when cooked. The squash is roasted before adding it to the curry. Half of the squash is pureed with coconut milk and the other half is cut into chunks to stir back into the curry before serving.
I love the thicker texture that the pureed squash gives to this curry. Leave out the chicken and you still have a hearty vegetarian meal.
Choose your favorite vegetables to pair with the squash. I like shitake mushrooms, carrots, red peppers, fresh spinach and zucchini (if you can find decent ones in the winter). In the summer, I add Thai basil from my garden. In the winter, I either use regular sweet basil, or just leave it out.
Thai Pumpkin Curry
1 butternut squash or kabocha
olive oil, salt and pepper
1 lb boneless chicken breast, cut into very thin strips
1 Tbs Thai red curry paste
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs olive oil, divided
1 small onion, sliced
½ red bell pepper, julienned
1 medium carrot, julienned
1 medium zucchini, julienned
½ cup sliced shitake mushrooms
2 cans (14 oz) coconut milk
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs Thai fish sauce
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs lime juice (or 4 kaffir lime leaves, chopped)
2 Tbs Thai red curry paste (adjust amount to personal taste)
1 cup fresh spinach or other greens
1/3 cup fresh basil (Thai basil preferably), coarsely chopped
Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Brush cut sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 425°F for 20-30 minutes, or until soft and cooked through.
While squash is cooking, combine sliced chicken, 1 Tbs curry paste and 2 Tbs soy sauce in a Ziploc bag. Let marinate at room temperature while squash cooks.
Heat 1 Tbs oil in wok or large saucepan. Add onion, red pepper, carrot, zucchini and mushrooms. Cook over high heat until crisp-tender. Remove from pan. Add remaining 1 Tbs oil to pan. Add chicken and cook over high heat, stirring until chicken is cooked through.
Peel and cut half of the cooked squash into cubes. Set aside. Place remaining half of the roasted squash (peeled) in a blender with one can of the coconut milk. Puree until smooth.
Add the pureed squash, remaining can of coconut milk (use to rinse out blender), 2 Tbs soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, salt, lime juice and remaining 2 Tbs curry paste to the chicken in the pot. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in squash cubes, spinach, basil and cooked vegetables. Heat until spinach wilts. Serve in bowls with or without rice.