I’ve been dying to make a curry forever.
So when my plans for a perfectly crisp, bright start to fall were washed out by this relentless rain, I decided there was no better time to create something warm and spicy.
If you must be stuck inside, you should at least work on perfecting your curry game. That’s how the saying goes, right?
I consulted a friend who is pretty fluent in the secrets of good Thai cookin’ to see if he could share any pointers. He told me the trick was in how you highlight the complexity of flavors one might expect to find in the perfect curry; sweet, salty, sour, and spicy– all those S’s intermingled in one bowl, the collaboration of tastes and textures that makes Asian cuisine so undeniably appealing.
So I used the rain as an excuse to not step one foot outside and I hunkered down in my kitchen to find that perfect curry harmony.
‘Tis the season for all things gourd-like, so it only felt natural to make this curvaceous butternut the main attraction in my blog’s curry debut.
And that, my friends, is a decision I do not regret for one minute.
It turns out that the warm, spicy flavors of curry get along gorgeously with butternut. As it simmers away, the curry flavor becomes part of the butternut AND the butternut becomes part of the curry. And the silky coconut milk acts as the perfect bath for all of that harmony and flavor fusion to happen.
The inside of a soup pot is the perfect place to hide a few spoonfuls of turmeric, which I make a point to put in my body as often as I can (like with this soup, and this lemonade). Not only does it make whatever you’re eating glow bright and beautifully, it is one of the most medicinally beneficial spices in the world (and in your cupboard).
I thought I would round out the whole flavor symphony by adding in something earthy.
Also, as an aside, I can never resist these little mushrooms and their peeping heads. How could you?
So I just added a few of my favorite curry veggie additions to the pot, but the beauty of this kind of dish is that anything you’ve got that grew in the dirt and is crunchy will work out ok.
I mean, I wouldn’t recommend leaving out the butternut because that kind of blew my socks off, but I think this would have turned out equally delicious with some broccoli, green beans, bamboo shoots…you know, whatever you’ve got hanging out in your fridge.
For the record, I do think that white rice can be part of a healthy dietary protocol (and yes, I said white rice). The bran and germ found on brown rice can actually irritate a damaged gut lining, making white rice easier to digest– which is something I care about.
I also find if hard to believe that an entire continent of healthy people have been doing lunch (and dinner, and breakfast) wrong for thousands of years.
White rice is a good source of carbohydrates, but it isn’t exactly nutrient dense. So, since this curry already has a vitamin-rich source of carbs from the butternut, I opted for cauliflower rice because:
- Adding more vegetables to your life is always a good choice, and
- Cauliflower rice is totally awesome. I mean cauliflower is the ultimate shapeshifter. You have to try it!
I added cilantro and lime to my cauli-rice, (which also goes great with Mexican dishes) but the flavor possibilities are endless. Cauliflower has such a mild flavor that it just acts as the perfect backdrop to anything you pair it with.
In this instance, it does a fantastic job of soaking up all that warm, curry heaven.
You can leave this recipe as is, or you can be just like me and add some leftover chicken after you take your pictures.
Either way, you are now a curry magician. Congratulations.
- 2 cups butternut squash, cubed
- 1 15 oz can of full fat coconut milk
- 1.5 cups broth
- 4-5 scallions, sliced
- 2 inches fresh ginger, grated
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 4 tsp red Thai curry paste
- 1/2 tbs fish sauce
- 2 tbs coconut sugar
- 1 medium Red chili pepper, sliced (or 1/4 tsp chili powder)
- coconut oil
- 1.5 cups beech mushroom, or other mushroom
- 1.5 cups snow peas
- 1 small bell pepper, sliced
- 1 small head of cauliflower
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- Cut florets from cauliflower head and add to a food processor (work in batches). Process cauliflower until it is is finely minced, with the consistency of rice. Reserve.
- Peel and cube the butternut squash. Add a bit of coconut oil to a pot over medium high heat. Add turmeric and curry powder and stir, allowing spices to warm through. After a minute or two, add minced garlic, grated ginger, white parts of the scallions, and a bit of salt. Saute for another 1-2 minutes and add coconut milk and broth.
- Bring liquid to a simmer, and add curry paste, fish sauce, and coconut sugar. Whisk to combine.
- Add sliced chili (or chili powder) and butternut squash. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes remove lid and add mushrooms, snow peas, and bell pepper. Continue to cook, uncovered for another 5 minutes, or until the butternut squash is tender but not too soft
- Once you have added the remaining vegetables to the curry, heat a bit of coconut oil in a pan over medium high heat and add cauliflower "rice" along with the juice from 1/2 a lime (use the whole lime if it is not very juicy). Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring and seasoning with salt to taste. Remove pan from heat and stir in cilantro.
- Serve curry with cilantro rice and garnish with the green tops of the scallions, Thai basil or cilantro, and extra lime wedges.
This makes 2 very generous servings, which is ok because leftovers will only get tastier as the flavors meld into one another. The recipe can easily be doubled to serve more hungry mouths. *I served this with peach iced tea with Thai basil and lime.
Don't let me do all the talking! Let me know what you think in the comments.