- 2 cups kabocha squash, bite-sized pieces
- 1 ½ cup coconut milk
- 4–6 Tbsp red curry paste (recipe below or store-bought)
- 500g chicken thigh, boneless, skinless, 1.5-inch cubes (if using chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch strips and marinade in 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce for 15 mins)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce (if using store-bought paste, you may need more or less)
- 2–3 Tbsp palm sugar, chopped
- 1 cup Thai basil
- Optional: some kind of julienned red pepper to add some colour
Red Curry Paste
- 8 large dried chilies, seeded*
- 4 small dried chilies, seeded*
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1/4 tsp white peppercorns
- heaping 1/4 cup shallots
- 3 Tbsp chopped garlic
- 3 Tbsp chopped lemongrass
- 1 Tbsp chopped galangal
- 2 cilantro roots (or use about 6 cilantro stems)
- 1 tsp chopped kaffir lime zest**
- 1 tsp shrimp paste
*Large dried chilies are mild, while the small ones are spicy, so you can control the curry paste’s spiciness by adding more or less of the small ones. If you can only find the small ones, make sure you remove all the seeds, and use about 7 for medium spiciness and up to 15 if you want to get some sweat going! In this video, I only had small ones, used about 13 chilies and yes, it was quite spicy!
**If you don’t have kaffir lime zest, you can add 2-3 kaffir lime leaves to the curry, torn into chunks, about 3 minutes before the curry is done. Or substitute regular lime zest int he curry paste.
Wash the kabocha squash and slice off any part of the skin that has blemishes, otherwise the skin can be left on. Remove the seeds by scraping off with a spoon and cut into bite-sized cubes. If you have leftover squash, try using it in this stir-fry recipe!
Bring 1/2 cup of coconut milk to a boil, add curry paste and stir to break up lumps. Continue cooking and reducing over medium high heat until it is very thick and the coconut oil starts separating from the curry paste (if the paste is very thick but no oil is separating, don’t worry, just proceed with the recipe).
If using chicken thigh: Add chicken and toss to mix with the paste. Add the remaining coconut milk and chicken stock. Season with 1 Tbsp of the fish sauce and 2 Tbsp of the palm sugar. Stir to mix and simmer for about 8 minutes.
Add kabocha squash and simmer for another 6-8 minutes or until fully cooked (test by piercing a form through the biggest piece. It should go through with no resistance). Remove from heat, taste and adjust seasoning with the remaining fish sauce and palm sugar as needed. Stir in Thai basil and red pepper, if using. Serve immediately with jasmine rice.
If using chicken breast: Add the remaining coconut milk, chicken stock, 1 Tbsp of the fish sauce and 2 Tbsp of the palm sugar. Stir to mix and bring to a boil. Add squash, then reduce heat to simmer the squash gently until the squash is almost done, about 5-6 minutes (test by piercing a form through a piece of squash, and it should go through but with slight resistance).
Add the chicken and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until both the squash and chicken are fully cooked. Remove from heat, taste and adjust seasoning with the remaining fish sauce and palm sugar as needed. Stir in Thai basil and red pepper, if using. Serve immediately with jasmine rice.
Red Curry Paste
Cut chilies into chunks, remove the seeds, then grind in a coffee grinder until fine.
In a heavy-duty mortar and pestle, add lemongrass, galangal, cilantro roots, kaffir lime zest, white peppercorns and salt. Pound until fine.
Add ground chilies and mix.
Add garlic and shallots, pound until fine.
Add shrimp paste, pound to mix.