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Thai Pumpkin & Chicken Curry

Thai Pumpkin & Chicken Curry
Look for small, sweet pumpkin varieties like Sugar Pie or Cheese or substitute butternut squash. To prepare the pumpkin or squash, steady it on its side on a rigid cutting surface and, using a large, sharp knife, cut it in half through the stem end. (If the peel is thick, tap the knife with a mallet.) Scoop out the seeds and fibers with a large metal spoon. Finally, peel and cut as desired.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small pumpkin or butternut squash, about
      1 1/2 lb., halved, seeded, peeled and cut into
      bite-size cubes
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbs. Thai red curry paste
  • 1 can (13 1/2 fl. oz.) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 Tbs. Asian fish sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp. firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 Tbs. corn or peanut oil
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into
      bite-size cubes
  • 2 Tbs. slivered fresh basil, preferably Thai basil
  • Steamed rice for serving

Directions:

Cook the pumpkin
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pumpkin and boil just until barely tender, about 7 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

Prepare the curry base
In a blender, combine the shallots, garlic and curry paste with 2 Tbs. water and process until smooth. In a small bowl, combine the coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice and brown sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar.

Cook the curry
In a wok or large fry pan over medium heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the oil. Add the chicken and sear until light brown on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a bowl.

Return the pan to medium heat and add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil. Add the curry base and cook, stirring, for about 10 seconds until fragrant. Stir in the coconut milk mixture and bring to a boil. Add the chicken and pumpkin, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the pumpkin is tender when pierced with a fork and the chicken is opaque throughout, about 5 minutes more.

Transfer the curry to a serving bowl, garnish with the basil and serve immediately with steamed rice. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Asian, by Farina Wong Kingsley (Oxmoor House, 2007).