Curry in triple degree weather? Yup, that’s right.
You mean eating spicy, bubbling hot foods on a scorching summer day doesn’t sound appealing to you? I totally get it. However, back where I’m from, people embrace profuse sweating and a tomato-colored face as they slurp up a sizzling pot of soup/stew or noodles or rice or what have you. Never mind the soaking shirts, I don’t understand how Koreans are able to dig in the very second a piping hot dish is brought to the table without burning their mouths! Or are they so used to it that the sensory nerves have been numbed similar to forming callouses on your fingertips? In any case, it’s very impressive, indeed.
Sure, a lot of Korean foods are spicy and served ridiculously hot (perfect for the winter time), but people also seek these foods during the summer months for health benefits – they help raise the internal body temperature, increase blood circulation, and aid in cooling through sweating.
Fight fire with fire is what it’s all about.
I wish I could attest to this, but I spent my summer there eating lots of patbingsoo (shaved ice with sweet red beans) and other cool foods that gave me immediate gratification.
As you can see, I’ve been reminiscing a lot over my recent trip. Refocus I must.
These adorable butternut squashes were part of my most recent CSA box of goodies. I’ve been meaning to use the sweet gourd in a curry ever since the instructor from my Thai cooking class mentioned it as a wonderful addition. That was last year, so yes, it’s taken me a while to finally put my thoughts into action. I’m totally on top of things ;).
Have you heard of Season with Spice before? If not, I highly suggest that you head on over to the website. Their impressive collection of premium Asian spices is sure to add a punch of flavor to your dishes and even make cooking easier. I used some of their fine goods to make this Vietnamese BBQ Shrimp Noodle Bowl and Spicy Korean Baked Chicken Wings.
This time, I used the Lemongrass Ginger Seasoning to coat the butternut squash cubes and give them a lil’ more oomph.
I threw in some spinach as I’m always looking for ways to add more nutrients to dishes without going overboard. I’ve been working on scaling back my tendency as the Hungryman complains at times that he feels like he’s eating a hodgepodge rather than a focused plate. However, on clean the fridge day, anything goes.
Just like with this Thai Red Curry with Shrimp and Sweet Potatoes, I highly advise that you make this ahead of time. The sauce will thicken and the flavors will become enhanced. The photos above were taken pretty soon after the dish was made as I had to take advantage of the daylight. The sauce won’t be that liquid-y after some time passes.
Serve with jasmine rice or whatever type of grain you wish. I also used moppers, a.k.a bread, more specifically naan to soak up all the rich sauce.
Hope you fight fire with fire this summer and give this dish a go! This spicy and comforting butternut squash red curry is not just for the cold months ;).
- 1 medium or 2 small butternut squash (about 2½ lbs), peeled and diced into ½ in. cubes
- 1 teaspoon lemon ginger seasoning (or use fresh lemon zest and ginger)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon canola oil, divided
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced very thinly
- 1 (14 fl. oz) can of coconut milk. Do not shake!
- 2 Tablespoons red curry paste
- 1 cup water
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons palm sugar (or brown sugar)
- Toss butternut squash cubes with lemon ginger seasoning and salt. Heat ½ teaspoon of oil in a large fry pan and sauté squash for about 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate.
- Heat ½ teaspoon of oil in the same pan over medium high heat and cook red onion and garlic for 5 minutes until soft.
- Scoop the cream at the top of the can of coconut milk (about ¼ cup) and add it to the pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in curry paste and turn heat down to low. Simmer, without stirring, until fragrant and coconut cream starts to release oil, about 3-5 minutes. Add the rest of the coconut milk and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add squash. Cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in spinach, fish sauce (taste curry and add more fish sauce if desired), and sugar.
- Remove from heat and allow to sit for at least an hour before serving, as the curry becomes thicker and more flavorful with time. Serve with jasmine rice.