What's for Dinner: Red Thai Chicken and Squash Curry

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Red Thai Chicken and Squash Curry

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My son took me out to dinner when I was in Washington, D.C., last week for a conference and boy was it a great meal -- and not just because No. 1 picked up the bill. I was so inspired by the traditional Thai food Taw Vigsittaboot dishes up at Thai-X-ing, that all I could think of was how to re-create it in my own kitchen. Particularly delicious was the big chunk of tender pumpkin simmered in a creamy red curry and served on a bed of banana leaves. Wow!

Fresh pumpkin isn't yet available, so I used an acorn squash in this recipe, which I adapted from Marcus Samuelsson of Harlem's Red Rooster fame. It calls for chicken thighs, but you also could use thinly sliced steak or chunks of a firm fish such as halibut or talapia. Serve with steamed rice.

  • 1 small pumpkin or winter squash, seeded and cubed (about 1 pound)
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced very thin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red Thai curry paste, or more to taste
  • 3 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon palm extract or brown sugar
  • 1 pound boneless and skinless chicken thighs, cut in to 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Handful of fresh cilantro on stem the stem
  • 1/4 cup of fresh Thai basil
  • Salt

Bring a large salted pot of water to boil. Add squash and cook until barely tender (approximately 7 to 8 minutes). Drain and set aside.

Blend red curry paste, onions and garlic. Heat oil in a pan and saute mixture over low to medium heat until aromas of the paste begin to emerge.

Give can of coconut milk a really good shake. (When you open it, you also may have to stir before using.) Whisk in half coconut milk and all the sugar into the pan. Once oil begins to separate from mixture, add chicken and simmer until chicken is fully cooked. Add pumpkin or squash, julienne of red pepper and remainder of coconut milk and cook until pumpkin is fork tender. Taste and season with salt if necessary and add lime juice.

Remove from heat, add basil leaves and garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately over rice.

Serves 4.

-- Adapted from Marcus Samuelsson at marcussamuelsson.com.

recipes - whatsfordinner

Gretchen McKay: gmckay@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1419 or on Twitter @gtmckay. First Published September 12, 2012 4:00 AM


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