Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thai Pumpkin Curry

I received my first Kabocha squash in my farm box this week, which after a bit of research I learned is a Japanese variety of winter squash and is also referred to as Japanese pumpkin. Like other winter squashes, it is rich in beta carotene and also contains vitamin C, iron, and potassium. It's also supposed to be an aphrodisiac and I thought this curry dish turned out beautifully, but now I'm not sure if the curry tasted good as I thought or the squash's 'magic property' influenced that opinion... Either way, I think the recipe is worth a shot. You can make the curry within the time it takes to make brown rice, so you'll have a healthy, veggie-packed meal on the table during the week without too much fuss.

Thai Pumpkin Curry

1 lb boneless & skinless chicken breast, sliced into 1 inch strips or cubed (optional)
3 tbsp peanut oil
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 can coconut milk (I like Chaokoh)
2-3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 stalk lemon grass, smashed and chopped into 2 inch pieces
3-4 cups peeled and diced squash/pumpkin (I like Kabocha or Butternut)
2-3 tbsps red curry paste (I like Mae Ploy)
3/4 lb green beans ended and chopped in 1 inch pieces
1 cup of other vegetables chopped (I used summer squash since I had it, but red bell pepper would be nice)
~2 tbsp brown sugar
~2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp cornstarch (optional)

- In a large, high walled skillet heat the peanut and olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chicken and brown evenly. This will take about 2-5 minutes a side depending on the size of the chicken pieces and your stove setting. Add the diced onion and sautée it until it starts to soften, about 2 minutes.

- Add the stock, coconut milk, pumpkin/squash, and curry paste and bring to a simmer.

- Reduce the heat to a even simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the squash is fork tender, about 10-20 minutes depending on the squash. Season the curry to taste with brown sugar, soy sauce, and additional curry paste if necessary.

- When the squash is cooked but not too soft stir in green beans and other quick cooking vegetables you'd like to use and cook briefly to heat them through, about 3-5 minutes max. If you'd like the curry to be thicker, place 1-2 tablespoons of the curry sauce in a small bowl and add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and stir with a fork until it is a smooth consistency and stir that into the skillet. Serve over rice.

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