This easy one-pot butternut squash curry 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, usually bland, almost always with chicken. This was great because I had something to mix with my plain white rice - which I hated, but curry was still a meh kinda thing for me.
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.
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!
For this butternut squash curry recipe, most ingredients can be found at your local grocery store.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
Burnt Is Flavour!
When you brown 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 the squash starts to cook and soften, it will releases liquids - use the liquid to scrape the bottom of the pan. The burnt will give the curry a nutty flavour.
Creaminess Comes from the Butternut Squash!
Before you add the butternut squash, the curry 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 and to have faith that sometimes food and random ingredients you're not familiar can surprise you sometimes!
Butternut Squash Curry
- 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.
- 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.
- 2 cups ham (or any type of leftover meat, chopped)
- 2 onions (diced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 butternut squash (cubed)
- 1 cup tomatoes (diced - canned or fresh)
- ¾ cups coconut milk
- Set the stove on to medium-low heat and add oil to a high walled pot
- Once the pot has been heated and the oil shimmers, 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 heat to medium heat
- Add the onions and ham to brown and soften. Cook for approximately 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)
- Add in the coconut milk
- 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!)
*Nutritional information is calculated using online tools and is an estimate*