Butternut Thai Red Curry

No posts for a while.  Several were intended but nothing quite made it to the Publish button.  Tonight I’m supposed to be out dancing at an Argentine Tango masked ball with live music, but I’ve had a cold this past week.  Partly I don’t have the energy for a late night and also it seems horribly unfair to dance cheek to cheek with someone and possibly give them a virus for their trouble.  (Although that’s probably how I got it, dancing at the Rivoli Ballroom last Saturday.)  Anyway the upshot of all that is that you get a post on what we had for dinner last night.  Riveting right?

My lovely allotment neighbour gave me a spare butternut squash seedling last spring.  I already had most of my squash and pumpkin planted out so I tucked it in next to the yacon I’d just planted.  It fruited late, as I understand is normal with butternut, and produced four stumpy fruit.  I have a recipe for a Thai red curry using butternut and tofu.  I’ve done it using Crown Prince pumpkin and tofu, but we found the tofu a bit of a let-down.  I have lots of white Spanga Bianco (Bianca?) beans this year so I decided to substitute those.

butternutthairedcurry1

Quantities for two servings:

100g dried white beans (you could substitute a can of butter beans)
1 tbs oil
1 level tbs Thai red curry paste – or more to taste, all depends on the type you use
450g butternut or other orange squash, this came out at 350g once the skin and seeds were removed.  Cut into cubes.
50g solid creamed coconut
half a veg stock cube in 0.5pt/300ml water
6 kafir lime leaves (I used frozen)
handful of frozen peas

I soaked the beans overnight in water, threw that water away, rinsed them and boiled them in some fresh water until soft whilst I was making lunch earlier in the day.  Keep the water the beans are boiled in as it will act as a thickening agent and can be used to make the vegetable stock for the recipe.  I prepared double the amount of beans I wanted so that I have some in the fridge ready to go for something else in the week.

You can use a tin of coconut milk but a normal size tin will be too much and you would have to reduce the amount of water used to make the stock a little.  The thing I like about the creamed coconut in a box is that it keeps forever in the fridge and you can just cut off as much as you want and include it in your recipe.  Frozen Kafir lime leaves can be found at an Asian supermarket or spice shop.  You get quite a lot so divide the pack into useful quantities and re-freeze in individual sandwich bags.

This is all pretty simple.  Put the oil and the curry paste in a frying pan with a lid or a wok.  Mash it all together as it heats for a minute and then throw in the squash, turn the heat to moderate and stir fry for a few minutes.  Add the stock, creamed coconut and lime leaves and bring to the boil.  The block of coconut will melt and blend in with a little stirring. Cover and simmer for ten to 15 minutes until the squash is just cooked through but not falling apart.  Meanwhile cook some rice.  If the squash is done before the rice just remove from the heat.

Add the cooked beans and the frozen peas, bring the whole thing back to the boil and simmer for about two minutes.  Fish out most of the lime leaves before serving as, like bay leaves, they’re not for eating.  If you like a sharper taste you could add the juice of half a lime, and a chopped red bell pepper would add some more colour interest.  Or even a chilli pepper if your curry paste isn’t that strong.  If it needs more salt use soy sauce to taste, or Thai fish sauce (nam pla) if you don’t want to keep it vegetarian. You could garnish with fresh coriander if liked.

butternutthairedcurry2

We liked this version a lot better than the tofu one.  It’s super-fast in preparation, even when you are feeling miserable with a cold and it was great for clearing the sinuses!  We have plenty of the white beans and plenty of orange squash so it’s going to be repeated several times this winter.

If you have any other recipe suggestions for those things please do let me have them.

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2 Responses to Butternut Thai Red Curry

  1. Sounds yummy Mike. As a matter of interest what type of tofu did you use in your previous version?

    • Mike Evans says:

      A firm-ish one. I wasn’t convinced it was firm enough as supplied so I pressed it between two chopping boards for half an hour before using. I wonder if it might be better with tempeh – but that’s really hard to find here.

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