If you’re anything like me, Thanksgiving leftovers once per day and I’m good. Perhaps even once and I’m good!
…..and then I’m on the lookout for something else that is going to excite my tastebuds. This simple, light Thai-inspired vegetarian dish, Butternut Squash in Fresh Green Curry, adapted from Real Vegetarian Thai, by Nancie McDermott (published in 1997 by Chronicle Books) was the perfect alternative.
I remember making this dish for my husband early in our marriage. We were married in 1995 and at the time I was a vegetarian. He wasn’t crazy about squash because the only way he had ever had it was cooked to death, mashed and then sweetened with brown sugar.
In this dish, butternut squash is paired with the light fruitiness of coconut milk, citrusy cilantro, the seductiveness of LOTS of ginger and garlic and hot green chiles. Happy tastebuds are here again! You can purchase prepared green curry paste, but this is going to taste a lot fresher!
Butternut squash can appear intimidating at first to work with. It’s not difficult once you master the technique.
First, select a squash with a long neck. This means you’ll have plenty of flesh without having to cut around the seedy part.
Slice the neck into about 3-inch lengths then place the cut side down on a cutting board. With a good, sharp knife, slice downward toward your cutting board, rotating the squash as you remove the thick peel.
To peel the bottom of the squash (the part with seeds), slice it in half from the top down. Place the seed side down and slice into ½ to 1-inch half moons. Remove the peel and seedy, fibrous interior with a paring knife then cube all the flesh as desired.
Simmer the squash in the curry until you can easily pierce it with a knife. If you cook it too much, it will fall apart.
Serve with hot cooked brown basmati rice. Hellooo tastebuds!!!
1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup), divided
8 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 jalapeno peppers or 1 serrano pepper, coarsely chopped
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped, divided (a few small sprigs reserved for garnish)
3/4 cup water, divided
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 can (14-ounce) coconut milk (unsweetened)
1 medium butternut squash (1 1/2 to 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (optional)
Hot, cooked brown basmati rice
Combine 1/4 cup onion, garlic, ginger, peppers, 1/2 cup cilantro and 1/4 cup water in a mini food processor or blender. Process, scraping down the sides until paste-like and fairly smooth. Set aside.
Heat canola oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven. Add the remaining onion and cook 5-7 minutes or until softened and almost golden. Add coconut milk, remaining water, butternut squash, salt and green curry paste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes or until butternut squash is tender but not falling apart.
Stir in remaining cilantro and chopped fresh basil if using. Garnish with reserved cilantro sprigs. Serve with hot, cooked brown basmati rice.