This easy one pot meal is perfect for a lazy day where you don’t want to babysit the stove, but you still want that ‘extra something’ for dinner. The sweetness from the squash pairs up amazingly with the creamy coconut, and did I mention? it’s a great way to use up leftover meat!
As a kid, curry was never a very popular dish in our household. My first experience with curry was when my parents took me to a Hong Kong style cafe restaurant. I remember it being very saucy, (which was great because I had something to mix with my rice — which I hated. Yes, I’m asian and not fond of plain white rice. Probably something to do with it not having any flavour :P) usually mildly coconutty, almost always with chicken.
As I hit my teenage years, I discovered Japanese food. Of course, I had to try the Japanese curry, right? It was similar to the ones I had as a kid, but it was less coconutty, more salty but just as saucy. Yaaas! Sauce for my rice.
Then I moved out on my own to Waterloo, and this was when I was exposed to North Indian/Pakastani curries — the raddas, the acharis, the saags and the karahis. The curry shop was a very small place, almost a hole in a wall that you would have missed if you weren’t directly looking for it. I didn’t know what to really expect but I was excited to titillate my taste buds. After I took my first bite, I was blown away. The amount of flavour in just that 1 tiny bite, I honestly can’t even describe them to you without doing it any injustice.
Curry was never the same to me after that experience and embarrassingly, it had also made me a bit of a curry snob. Nowadays, I only get my curry from this little hidden gem, and even though I tried (over and over and over again) I could never (ever) recreate the flavours, …that is until now!
One morning, I had a craving for curry but I was too lazy to drive across town to pick up takeout. I had squash, since you know, — it’s that kinda season where it’s everywhere? I had ham — oh you know, from my leftovers of ham that I can’t seem to finish? and I craved curry. Why not right?
I won’t lie. I didn’t have any high hopes for this curry. Ham is no goat, and squash? Well, besides sweet isn’t particularly very flavourful, but I was desperate.
Being a lazy day for me, it was a one pot meal — less dishes for me 🙂
I was floored by the results of this coconut squash curry I had just created. It was flavourful! Wait wha? It was creamy – not from the coconut milk, but from the squash! It was spicy and sweet — again from that magic ingredient, squash. Being the curry snob that I was, this actually satisfied my curry craving.
Tip #1: Burnt is flavour. When you brown the the curry powder, curry paste with the onion, garlic and ham you might notice that a lot of the bits will stick to the bottom of the pan and slightly burn and turn brown. Don’t panic! This is flavour! 🙂 Once you start adding in the liquids from the tomatoes and the squash starts releasing it’s water, scrape the bottom of the pan with the liquid. The process is called de-glazing. The heated liquid softens the burnt bits on the bottom of the pan. The burnt bits cook into your food and gives it a nutty flavour.
Tip #2: It will look very dry after you put all the ingredients into the pot. Don’t fret — the squash will save the day. Squash has a lot of water in it. As it starts to cook down, it releases a lot of liquids which creates that saucy creaminess in this dish.
After this meal, I learned that good curry doesn’t have to have 500 spices (although having it doesn’t hurt either :)) and to have faith that sometimes food and random ingredients you’re not familiar can surprise you sometimes! Have you ever had an experience where you were surprised at how well an experiment turned out in your kitchen? How about an experience where it was actually horrific? (Like my Coffee Miso Cauliflower test. Don’t try that flavour combo. Just don’t. Yuck)
Let me know if you make this and how it turned out with #pupswithchopsticks 🙂
A quick and easy one pot curry made with coconut milk, squash and ham. Great recipe to use for any types of leftover meats.
- 1 squash
- 2 cups ham (or any type of leftover meats)
- 3 small onions
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp red curry paste
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 cup diced tomatoes (canned) or fresh diced tomatoes
- 3/4 cup coconut milk
Turn your stove on to medium-low heat and add oil
Once the pot has been heated, toast the curry powder and curry paste for about 2-5 minutes, until fragrant. (Be careful on this step, the oil splashes a lot!)
Adjust the stove to medium heat
Add the onions and ham to brown and soften for 5 minutes
Add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute
Mix in the tomatoes and squash. (Don't worry if it looks dry, the squash will release it's liquids once it cooks down)
Adjust the stove back to low to simmer for 60 mins and check every 15-20 mins to stir it.
Serve it up with some rice or some naan and enjoy! (This taste even better the next day!)
Tip #1 : To easily cut squash, poke multiple holes in it and put it in the microwave for 3-5 mins. This softens this up so it can be easily chopped. Be careful! The squash is VERY hot once it's been microwaved.
Tip#2 : During the cooking process, it may look very dry. Don't worry, the squash will release it's liquids once it has been soften. If you add water, it will make it too runny. Trust the squash! 🙂 If it's too dry for you even after the squash has been soften and fully cooked, you can add a bit of chicken stock.