Coconut milk lends richness and exotic flavor to these creamy braised vegetables. Its slight sweetness echoes that of both the root vegetables and squash, while offsetting the spicy red curry paste, pungent Asian fish sauce, and bright lime and cilantro that season the broth.
2 tsp. canola oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4-inch slice fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tsp. red curry paste
1 tsp. Thai fish sauce
1 sweet potato, about 1/2 lb., peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 celery root, about 1/2 lb., peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 delicata squash, about 1/2 lb., peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
8 fresh cilantro sprigs
In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the fish sauce, sweet potato and celery root and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low, pour in the coconut milk and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the squash and cook until the vegetables are just tender when pierced with a sharp knife but not falling apart, 12 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, finely grate the zest from the lime and cut the fruit into wedges. Stir the lime zest into the vegetables.
Divide the vegetables and braising liquid among warmed bowls, top each with 2 cilantro sprigs and a lime wedge, and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Vegetables, by Jodi Liano (Oxmoor House, 2008).