Thai curry is one of the most comforting, warming dishes you can make.
The spicy chile and herbs are balanced by the creamy cooling coconut milk, and when spooned over tender white rice, you’ve got one of my favorite meals in bowl.
There are actually three common “colors” of curry out there:
- Red Curry
- Green Curry
- Yellow Curry
Red curry paste, the variety used in this recipe, is made with dried red chiles, garlic, shallot, lemongrass, salt, galangal (a type of Thai ginger), kaffir lime, and sometimes shrimp paste.
Green curry contains basically the same ingredients, except it uses green chiles instead of red, plus a pop of coriander, cumin, and turmeric. If you’re looking for a green curry recipe, I’ve got an excellent one here.
Yellow curry is the most mild and is actually vegetarian! It leads with a strong lemongrass flavor, and doesn’t use any shrimp paste.
Honestly, they are ALL delicious, but I thought the red paste would pair best with the sweet butternut squash I had sitting on my counter, so that’s where this recipe went!
Curries are SUPER simple to make if you’re using jarred curry paste.
Simply sauté the paste in some oil, add some veggies, coconut milk, and protein of your choice, and let it simmer.
Top it off with fresh lime juice & herbs, and you’ve got a delicious meal ready in no time.
Honestly, if you use pre-cooked chicken, chickpeas, or tofu, this meal would be ready in under 30 minutes.
If you choose to poach some chicken first, it’ll take a little bit longer, but the whole thing will still be done in about an hour.
The curry paste adds so so much flavor, that you can keep the rest of the ingredients pretty basic. in fact, I really only used butternut squash and chicken in this recipe, and it was great!
Feel free to experiment with whatever veggies you have in your fridge. Sweet potatoes, onions, or chickpeas would also be wonderful in this dish.
Thai Red Curry with Butternut Squash and Chicken
- 1.25 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (~3 small)
- 2 cups Jasmine rice or other long grain rice
- 2 tablespoons organic canola or other oil of choice
- 2-4 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (amount used depends on the spiciness of your brand)
- 4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (3/4 inch cubes)
- 1 14 ounce can full fat coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
- 3 cups warm water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari if gluten free
- Juice of 4 limes
- 1/3 cup julienned fresh basil
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the chicken breasts, reduce the heat to a simmer, and let cook for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. [Exact time will vary, depending on the size of your chicken breasts.] When done, use tongs to remove the chicken to a plate & set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, place the rice and 4 cups of water in a rice cooker or small lidded pot. Cook in the rice cooker or according to package instructions until done. Set aside for later.
- Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, use your fingers to shred it into bite sized pieces and set aside.
- Next, start the curry. In a large enameled cast iron dutch oven, heat the two tablespoons of canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the curry paste and butternut squash and cook for about 5 minutes, until fragrant. I used 4 tablespoons of the Thai Kitchen curry paste because it was somewhat bland... if you use a spicier brand like Mae Ploy, you'll probably only need 2 tablespoons.
- Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, and water to the dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Let cook for about 15 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
- Once the squash is tender, stir in 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Add the chicken and simmer for 5 minutes, until warmed through.
- Finally, turn off the heat and stir in the lime juice, basil, and cilantro. Add a scoop of white rice to each serving bowl, and spoon the warm curry over top. Enjoy!