With pumpkin season in full swing in the northern hemisphere & pumpkins & winter squash readily available across the globe, I thought a quick & simple Thai curry would be just the thing to share for a quick-fix meal or make ahead & freeze. Roasted wedges of caramelized pumpkin, perfectly tender cauliflower & crunchy French green beans bathed in a creamy red curry sauce served with some coconut rice requires little effort, apart from cutting the exertion of cutting & deseeding pumpkin.
I’m all about making food from scratch, & most of the time I do because homemade generally tastes better. When in a time crunch, it’s not only easy but smart meal planning to use a shortcut here & there. Curry pastes are a perfect example. When it comes to prepared curry pastes, not all are created equal. Here are a couple of the best ready-made curry pastes I’ve tried. These are available online or from Asian markets. The most widely available curry paste – Thai Kitchen, is lack-luster so use the good stuff I suggested. It keeps forever in the fridge.
I chose a pumpkin as close to the gorgeous pumpkins I used to buy in Australia with a thick blue-grey skin. Use whatever dense, sweet pumpkin/squash you prefer. Butternut squash works well in any recipe, including this one. Whatever you call them, pumpkins or (winter) squash are loaded with beta carotene. No prizes for knowing that – the bright orange flesh kinda gives it away. Beta carotene as you probably already know, is an anti oxidant performing many important functions in overall health such as: protecting against heart disease, reducing the risk of certain types of cancer & slowing degenerative aspects of aging.
Pumpkin is low in calories, inexpensive, contains the antioxidant vitamins A, C & E & is a good source of fiber. I like it because it’s quite the chameleon. Serve it in a Thai or Indian curry. Roast pumpkin to throw into salads. Blitz cooked pumpkin to turn into silky smooth soups & sauces. Or it’s brilliant teamed with pasta in lasagne, ravioli & made into a sauce for linguine. What I love most is its ability to go from savory to sweet so effortlessly such as these super moist & delicious pumpkin walnut streusel muffins.
Growing up in Australia I feel like we ate pumpkin almost every night. My childhood memory could be clouded but I do know it was often. I remember this because once upon a time I didn’t like it. Now I love it & I’m vowing to eat more pumpkin this season. I leave for Australia in a week & there’s lots to get done before then so I best hop to it. Until next time, toodles xo.
- 24 oz (680g) pumpkin/squash, peeled & seeded
- 1 tablespoon canola (or coconut) oil
- pinch salt & pepper
- 1 smallish cauliflower, trimmed & cut into florets
- 1/3 cup Thai red curry paste
- 8 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed, white & pale part only
- 14 oz (398ml) can coconut milk
- 1 cup chicken (or veggie) broth
- 2 tablespoons palm (or brown) sugar
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 8 oz (226g) French beans, trimmed
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/3 cup cilantro (coriander) leaves
- coconut rice, lime wedges, cilantro (coriander) sprigs, to serve
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut pumpkin/squash into wedges. Drizzle with oil & sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, turn. Add cauliflower. Drizzle with a little oil & sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast for 15 minutes or until just cooked.
- Meanwhile, cook curry paste for 30 to 60 seconds in a deep, large frying pan or wok over medium heat for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add lime leaves, lemongrass, coconut milk, broth, sugar & fish sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer & simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes to infuse flavors.
- Add beans & simmer for 2 minutes. Add pumpkin & cauliflower & simmer 2 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Stir in lime juice.
- Serve with coconut rice, lime wedges & cilantro sprigs.
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