A classic and iconic Thai dish gets a makeover just in time for fall. This Thai chicken and pumpkin curry served with pasta is super easy to prepare and makes for the perfect make-ahead meal.
Disclosure: I was asked to participate in the #PastaFits campaign as a member of the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network. I was compensated for my time. Thanks for supporting MJ and Hungryman.
I’m Korean and yes, kimchi is my life. However, over the years, my love and appreciation for Thai food has completely enraptured me to the point that I cook more at home with curry and coconut milk than gochujang and doenjang. I’ll still eat my Pad Thai or curries with kimchi, so there’s that ;).
I learned during my cooking class that Thai food is all about balance and a harmonious marriage of all 4 flavors – salty, sweet, sour, and spicy. While I can’t say my palate is especially discerning (the Hungryman can pick out even the most subtle flavors), I can definitely hone in on all those flavor notes whenever I eat at Thai restaurants. It truly is an art and one that I’m continuously striving to master.
For my part 2 of the #pastafits series, I decided to venture off into the non-Italian realm yet again. Pasta is totally versatile, and it’s fun to step away from the usual red and white sauces from time to time. In case you missed it, check out my Steak Fajita Pasta with Avocado Cream Sauce. For this latest dish, I knew I had to incorporate pumpkin in some fashion (like in this vegetarian pumpkin kale pasta bake), and if you’ve never tried the magic combination of pumpkin + coconut milk, trust me – you are missing out! I liken it to the marriage of peach pie and vanilla ice cream. Sure the pumpkin can hold its own, but when the coconut milk gets thrown in, it’s game over.
If you’ve never made curry at home before, it’s super easy! One of the tricks I learned from the cooking class that stuck with me lies in the handling of the coconut milk. It’s important that you don’t shake the can so that the thin watery milk and the thick cream stay separated. When you open the can, the cream is what you scoop out to essentially fry the red curry paste.
Other than the seemingly insignificant yet impactful step just mentioned, get ready for smooth sailing because all you need to do is dump and stir everything in one skillet. Told you making curry is a cinch as long as you have all the basic ingredients.
Once the curry is done, I like to let it sit for at least 60 minutes before serving as time is its best friend when it comes to flavor development. So for you busy folks out there, this would make for the perfect make-ahead meal.
While waiting, you can then cook the pasta to be served with the curry. If making in advance, pour a little bit of light olive oil (or neutral oil of choice) over the pasta to prevent it from drying out or sticking together, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Thai Chicken and Pumpkin Curry Pasta
- 14 oz coconut milk do not shake!
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 chicken breasts diced into bite-sized pieces (or use chickpeas for a vegetarian version)
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
- 16 oz. package of frozen broccoli defrosted in the refrigerator (or fresh)
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/2 cup Thai basil leaves
- 14 oz. whole wheat penne cooked according to package directions
- Scoop the cream at the top of the can of coconut milk (about halfway down), and add to a large wok or fry 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. Bring up the heat to medium heat, then add garlic and ginger. Stir for about a minute. Add chicken and coat with sauce, about 3 minutes.
- Add rest of coconut milk, pumpkin, stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until chicken is cooked all the way through, about 15-20 minutes. Stir often. Season with fish sauce and sugar (taste curry and add more fish sauce if desired). Add vegetables and Thai basil and remove from heat.
- Allow to sit for at least an hour before serving, as the curry becomes thicker and more flavorful with time. When ready to serve, reheat curry and serve over pasta.