Butternut Squash in Fresh Green Curry


Butternut Squash in Fresh Green Curry

This simple fresh curry paste takes only minutes to prepare. It envelopes sweet, golden chunks of butternut squash with a beautiful & savory green sauce in the time it takes the accompanying rice to cook. Try making it with any prepared curry paste for an even simpler dish.

  • 1 winter squash, about 1½ pounds
  • 2 tbsn. coarsely chopped shallots or yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp. peeled and coarsely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 green New Mexicans or Padrones
  • 3 tablespoons plus ½ cup water
  • ¾ cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves/ stems
  • 1 can (14 oz.) unsweetened coconut milk (1 ¾ c)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ c. fresh thai basil leaves

Trim off the stem and blossom end of the squash. Halve lengthwise and scoop out and discard the seeds & fibers. Cut into large chunks and carefully peel each chunk. Cut peeled chunks into 1-in. pieces. You will have about 4 c. Set aside. In a small food processor or blender, combine the shallots or onion, garlic, ginger, chilies, the 3 T. water, and ½ cup of the cilantro. Grind until you have a fairly smooth paste, pulsing the motor and stopping often to stir down the sides of the container and incorporate all the ingredients. You will have about ¼ cup bright green paste. Set aside.

Shake the coconut milk can well. Spoon out ½ cup into a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it thickens and releases its sweet fragrance, about 3 minutes. Add the curry paste and cook for 1- 2 minutes, mashing, scraping, and stirring until the paste is dissolved into the coconut milk and heated through. Add the remaining coconut milk, the remaining ½ cup water, the sugar, salt, and butternut squash. Raise the heat to high and bring the curry to a boil.

Stir well, reduce the heat to a gentle boil, and continue cooking until the squash is tender and the sauce is smooth and evenly colored a soothing green, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cut all but a few of the basil leaves crosswise into thin strips. When the curry is cooked, stir in the basil strips and the remaining ¼ cup cilantro. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving bowl.

Garnish with the reserved basil leaves and serve hot or warm.