This squash and tofu curry balances the Thai spices and the fall flavors perfectly. Red curry paste has the right amount of spice to balance the sweet flavors of coconut milk and butternut squash. Vegan
Fall is when the new crop of winter squash begin to arrive in the market. These are the ripe fruit in the squash family with thick rind and mellow lightly sweet flavors. These are rich in nutrients and easy to cook and serve. Blending the natural sweetness of the squash with the savory spices of the lovely way to make a filling meal with this vegetable.
Why you should make this curry
Curry is a great way to make a flavorful meal in a hurry. The spices in the red curry pairs well with the squash and tofu adds the perfect amount of protein. Not convinced? Here are a couple other reasons
1.Easy cleanup – It is a one pan dish
Need I say anything more? If you cook and clean (or just clean) this is your dream:-).
2. Comes together in under 30 minutes.
The cooking time greatly depends on how large the squash pieces are. Cut them into pieces that are no longer than ½ inch thick and the curry is ready in under 30 minutes from start to finish.
There is enough protein here without any animal products. If you are trying to reduce your meat intake or already enjoying the vegan/vegetarian lifestyle then you must give it a try.
4.Easy to mix up flavors.
Stir in a few handfuls of fresh spinach just before you turn off the heat, or add an assortment of red or green peppers or mushrooms.
And lastly for the carnivore in the family just stir in a few a cooked shrimp or grilled chicken just before turning off the heat and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving
What goes into this Squash Curry
This curry really needs only 3 ingredients – squash, red curry paste and coconut milk. Shallots, lemon, and fresh herbs like basil, cilantro or lemon grass are added to boost flavor. I have added tofu in this version, but other optional vegetables are mushrooms, spinach bell peppers or even snow peas. More on all these later.
My favorite winter squash to make this curry with is butternut squash, kabocha or acorn squash are close seconds. I am pretty sure it will taste great with unripe pumpkins as well, but sweet pumpkins and spaghetti squash are definitely not what I would go with in this recipe.
NEED MORE SQUASH RECIPES?
- Pumpkin Quick Bread
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars
- Roasted Kabocha Squash
- Pumpkin Halva
- Erisseri – Squash/Pumpkin and bean curry
Red curry paste
I don’t make read curry paste from scratch, but if you do or have access to fresh-made red curry paste use it, otherwise buy a good quality red curry paste.
What goes into a red curry paste?
There are many versions of red curry paste, but most of the traditional ones have Thai chilies, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, kefir lime, galangal, pepper and shrimp paste. Here is a version that I loved. For the vegan version just omit the shrimp paste and may be add a couple drops of tamari.
Galangal and kefir lime are hard to come by here but we do get a few good brands of red curry pastes. Use a good quality one that you can find. Now if you can’t find red curry paste then by all means use mild curry powder and add chilies and any of the spices listed above to increase the flavor.
Coconut milk is the preferred way to bring creaminess to Thai curries. Personally I love coconut milk and would substitute it for dairy cream whenever I can. Use a can of good quality coconut milk (not cream). You can make coconut milk from scratch, but going that route will take much more time. While I feel that one 13 oz can is the right amount here you could reduce it to ¾ or ½ can per your taste.
I like to squeeze a little lemon over the curry and sprinkle a few basil leaves (Thai basil when I have them). A few spoons of chopped cilantro or slivers of lemon grass are great on the dish too. Adding this to hot curry releases the essential oils, inviting the senses to try out the dish.
How to make the curry
This is an easy curry to make and the whole process can be summarized these 4 easy steps.
- Sauté the chopped shallots and onions for a minute or so until it softens.
- Add the curry paste to it and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the coconut milk.
- Bring it to a simmer and add the squash pieces and tofu and cook.
How to serve
I like to serve all red curries with a bowl of rice but breads like Naan or whole wheat pita are great here too. Another option is to serve over a bowl of noodles, rice or wheat. If you choose this option make the curry a bit thinner and add a handful of few mung sprouts on top of the noodles before pouring the curry over it.
Red Curry with Squash and Tofu
- I small butternut squash
- 2-3 Shallots Notes
- 1 Pkg Firm Tofu (12 oz)
- 1 In Ginger
- 4 Cloves Garlic
- 2 Tbsp Red Curry paste Notes
- 1 Can can Coconut Milk (13 oz)
- 2 Tbsp Coconut oil Notes
- Salt to taste
- A few sprigs Basil
- A few sprigs of green onions
- Lemon Grass
- Cooked Rice / Flat Bred / Rice Noodles
- Peel and halve the butternut squash lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and cut into ½ in thick pieces.
- Chop the shallots fine. Mince or grate the ginger and garlic. Peel Cut the tofu into small pieces about the same thickness as the squash.
- Heat a pan over medium heat and add the coconut oil.
- When the oil is hot add the chopped shallots, ginger and garlic. Stir fry for a few minutes until the shallots soften.
- Add the curry paste, mix and cook for 30 seconds.
- Stir in the coconut milk and optionally add ½ C water. Bring it to a slow simmer.
- Add the squash pieces and tofu. Cover and let it cook for about 15 minutes or until the squash is cooked through.
- Taste and adjust salt. Squeeze about ½ a lemon over the curry and sprinkle a few basil leaves and chopped spring onion. Turn off the heat and cover with the lid. Let the curry rest for 15 minutes before serving.
- If shallots are not available use a small yellow onions
- For spicier version double the curry paste
- I use coconut oil as it matches the flavors in the dish. Use any oil that you usually cook with.
Important: Values are only estimates. Actuals vary depending on ingredients and serving size.
Check out the video recipe on you tube