This curry is fantastic - rich and creamy without being overwhelming, and full of flavorful veggies. I do love the kabocha squash here - it's got a distinctive taste and texture from other winter squashes, and so it's worth seeking out if you can find it. The downside is that it's a ton of work to peel, much more so than something like a butternut squash, but the recipe does make a large batch so I think it's worth it. After struggling through peeling the squash, a friend gave me the tip that you can microwave the squash briefly to soften the skin a bit; I will definitely give that technique a try next time! I served this curry with an Afghan flatbread, bolani, which is sort of like a very thin naan stuffed with lentils - not very traditional, but super delicious. Steamed rice would also be an excellent choice.
Thai Red Curry with Kabocha Squash and Bell Peppers (adapted from Chow, original recipe here)
Oil to cover the bottom of your pot
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch strips
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 heaping T peeled and minced fresh ginger
3 T Thai red curry paste
13- to 14- ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 T soy sauce
1 kabocha squash (about 2-1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
Coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, to serve
1. Heat a large frying pan or Dutch oven over medium heat, and then add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the onion and 1 tsp of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and softened, about 6 minutes. Add the peppers, garlic, and ginger, and stir to combine. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2. Add the curry paste, stir to coat the vegetables, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, water, soy sauce, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
3. Stir in the squash, return to a simmer, and then cover and reduce heat to low. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is fork-tender, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice. Taste and season with salt if needed.
4. Serve topped with chopped cilantro. Good with rice or flatbread.