Hello not not readers!

I’m excited to put up today’s post, the first recipe for Menu #2 of the Make it a Meal series. Make it a Meal provides not just a recipe, but a meal with easy variations to suit people with diverse diets. This menu is called Thai One On, and — you guessed it — it features Thai-influenced ingredients such as green curry, coconut, lime, and Thai chili. The entire menu is plant-based but I’ve also included omnivore options, so it works for either vegans or carnivores or both. Today’s recipe is the main course, Butternut Squash Green Curry, and it starts from a single pot of curry to minimize the work. Now this combo isn’t exactly something you can find at a Thai restaurant, but I think if you like Thai flavours, you’ll enjoy this dish!

In the next couple of posts, I’ll be rounding out the meal with Thai Apple Salad, and for dessert, Papaya & Pomegranate Ice. All super yum and easy!

 

PS – I’ve decided to create the Make it a Meal series in my mission to make it easier to gather eaters of all stripes around a communal table.

Let’s get to the recipe!

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Ingredients

These quantities are for 4 people. The amount of tofu and/or chicken breast that you need will depend on your eater’s diets. For example, if you have 2 vegans and 2 carnivores, you might want to create one pot of curry with just tofu, and another with just chicken. Alternatively, your carnivores might want tofu as well, so you have to calculate accordingly. I like to buy non-factory farmed organic chicken, which is very expensive, so I use the tofu in addition to a smaller quantity of chicken to reduce the overall protein costs. As a rough guide, I use about 1/2 kilogram of chicken and about 3 cups of tofu.

  • 2 butternut squash (enough for approx. 4 cups of squash)
  • extra-firm tofu, the amount is dependant on number of tofu eaters
  • chicken breast, the amount is dependent on number of chicken eaters
  • 2 400 ml cans of coconut milk (full fat)
  • 4 tablespoons of green curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, plus if using chicken, 1 – 2 tablespoons of coconut oil for frying
  • 8 lime leaves. (You can find these at Asian markets. They keep well in the freezer and take only a few minutes to defrost.)
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce or Easy 2 Ingredient Vegan Fish Sauce (see recipe below)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 cups packed spinach
  • cilantro and lime wedges for garnish

Instructions

Tip: Optionally, you can cook the squash a day or two ahead, then leave it in the fridge until you are ready to make the recipe. This is easy to do even when you are tired. I don’t even remove the seeds. I like to do this step ahead because the squash is easier to deal with when it’s cold.

  1. Prepare the squash:
    • Preheat oven to 375.
    • Cut the butternut squash in half from top to bottom and place on a baking sheet. You don’t need to remove the seeds, etc. before roasting. Roast for about 45 minutes until tender.
    • If you are doing this the day ahead, put the entire roasted squash in the fridge (I just put it in a big ziplock bag) and leave it until the next day. Once it’s cool, scoop out the seeds, peel off the skin, and then set the remaining squash aside.
    • If you are doing this on the day you are serving the curry, set the squash aside until it is cool enough to handle, then scoop out the seeds, peel off the skin, and then set the remaining squash aside.
  2. Prepare the tofu, if using:
    • Place the tofu between 2 plates and then put something heavy on top, like a cast iron frying pan or some books. Let sit for about 10 minutes to press out the water. Then cut the tofu into 1/2 inch cubes, encase the cubes in a clean tea towel and holding it over the sink, gently wring the water out. If you do this vigorously, the cubes will get a bit mashed up – that’s totally fine, if not as visually pleasing in the end.
    • Heat a heavy-bottomed frying pan (e.g. cast iron) at medium high heat. Put the tofu in the pan and fry until golden, about 5 minutes, turning occasionally so that all sides are browned. Set aside. If you are also cooking chicken, you can prepare the chicken in the same pan once you’ve removed the tofu.
  3. Prepare the chicken, if using: Cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Put 1 to 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a frying pan, and fry chicken over medium heat until cooked through. Set aside.
  4. Prepare the curry:
    • In a mixing bowl, or with a blender, puree the squash together with the coconut milk. Set aside.
    • In a large pot, heat the coconut oil. Add the curry paste and fry for a few minutes to release the flavours. Stir in the squash puree, lime leaves, soy, {vegan} fish sauce, and lime. Let simmer for about 10 or 15 minutes.
    • Divide the curry base into the number of pots needed – e.g., one for vegans, one for carnivores and let simmer at least 15 minutes longer. I find the tofu absorbs more flavour if left longer. If you do this, you may need to add a bit of water to thin the sauce.
    • About 5 minutes before serving, add the spinach.
    • Serve over brown rice garnished with cilantro and lime wedges.

Easy Two Ingredient Vegan Fish Sauce

I am pretty excited about this! It does not taste exactly like the non-vegan version, but the fermented beans provide that funky, fermented flavour inherent in regular fish sauce. I looked at lots of vegan fish sauce recipes but many seemed time-consuming to make and/or contained multiple ingredients that might be difficult to find or expensive. Black bean sauce should be available in the Asian section of most grocery stores and it’s inexpensive. I paid less than $4 Canadian for a jar. For the sea salt, I tested with both regular sea salt and smoked. They are both good and help add the salty element of regular fish sauce. It’s subtle, but I felt like the smoked version added another layer of funkiness. I used Maldon, which is relatively pricey, but a little goes a long way, it’s not going to go bad in your pantry, and it’ll be versatile enough to add to a variety of different recipes.

Ingredients & Instructions

Mix together in a small bowl:

  • 1/2 teaspoon black bean sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, if you can find it get smoked sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons water

Feedback Wanted!

Yes, YOU! As always, I’d love you feedback on the recipe, the Make it a Meal concept, the entire site! Tell me about your diverse family! Scroll on down to the comments below, or drop me a line on my Facebook page.

PS – Don’t forgot to check out menu #1: Chili Night, menu #3: Don’t Fritter it Away, and menu #4: Peas & Love, starring Lemony Pasta with Peas & Arugula

Sylvia

 

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Posted by:Sylvia E

11 replies on “Butternut Squash Green Curry {Menu 2: Thai One On}

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