Using prepared red curry paste is an easy and fast way to add traditional Thai flavors to this vegetarian one-pot meal. Start by sautéing onion, bell pepper, garlic, and ginger with red curry paste, then add coconut milk to create the base for the stew. Chunks of kabocha squash simmer in the base for about 20 to 25 minutes, enough time for the curry to thicken, creating a creamy and slightly sweet dish. Spoon it over steamed white rice or brown rice and pack up any leftovers for a hearty lunch.
What to buy: Kabocha is a squat winter squash with tender, sweet, orange flesh and a thin, dark green skin. Acorn or butternut squash is a good substitute if you can’t find kabocha, but cooking times may then vary, so be sure to keep an eye on the squash while simmering.
Game plan: Check out this CHOW video on safe ways to cut hard squash.
This recipe was featured as part of our Easy Weeknight Vegetarian Main Dishes.
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 1 hr 10 mins
- Active: 45 mins
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, medium dice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 2 medium green bell peppers, seeds and ribs removed and cut into 1/4-inch strips
- 4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger (from about a 1-1/2-inch piece)
- 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- 1 (13- to 14-ounce) can unsweetened regular coconut milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 medium kabocha squash (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- Steamed white rice or steamed brown rice, for serving
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened, about 6 minutes. Add the peppers, garlic, and ginger, stir to combine, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the curry paste, stir to coat the onion-pepper mixture, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, water, soy sauce, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer.
- Stir in the squash, return to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium low, and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is fork-tender but still firm, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Taste and season with salt as needed.
- Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve immediately over steamed rice.