A spin on the classic Thai kaeng kari (yellow curry), this dish uses butternut squash and a homemade curry paste to form a fragrant, rich base. It can be served straightaway, but letting it sit for about an hour before serving will allow the flavours to settle into more subtle notes. The curried butternut squash makes a delicious soup on its own, but with a bit of aubergine, pak choy and indulgent prawns, its the perfect curry to usher in autumn.
Thai Butternut Squash and Prawn Curry
1.5 kg butternut squash, cut into medium-sized cubes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1 thumb size piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped, plus a bit more
2 large shallots, finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped, plus more for garnish
1 tsp coriander seed, roasted in a dry pan
4 sprigs ea. of thai basil and fresh coriander, chopped, plus more for garnish
1 lt chicken stock
200 ml coconut cream
1 aubergine, de-gorged and cubed
400 g pak choy
300 g prawns, deveined
1. Grind together the cumin, paprika, shallot, garlic, chilli, salt and dry roasted coriander seeds using a pestle and mortar.
2. Heat up the curry paste in a large pot with olive oil on medium heat until it begins to release its fragrance. Add in the butternut squash and stir to coat with the curry paste. Pour in half of the chicken stock and let simmer, covered, until the squash is just about cooked through (approx. 15-20 min). Add in half of the coconut cream and let simmer for another 3 min.
3. When the curry base is finished, add in some of the chopped fresh coriander and thai basil, and puree for the desired consistency. Let sit to cool for about 1 hr. (If you want to stop here and make a soup, reheat with a bit more chicken stock to thin it out and serve garnished with the chopped herbs and chilli).
4. In a wok, stir fry the aubergine with a bit more ginger and chilli in sesame oil. Add the curry base and let cook together for 8-10 min (you can just cook the aubergine in the curry, but I like to add another dimension by stir-frying first). Add more chicken stock if it becomes too thick. Add in the prawns, pak choy, a bit more thai basil and the rest of the coconut cream during the last 2 min of cooking.
5. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve over rice garnished with fresh chillis, chopped coriander and a sprinkling of crushed roasted peanuts.