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Author Notes: Last year, I discovered it’s actually really easy to make your own red chili paste. Basically, you take a bunch of stuff and throw it in a food processor, and add a little water as needed to make a paste. And the good news is, with the exception of maybe the stalk of lemongrass, I always have pretty much everything it calls for on hand.
Pumpkin curry is also one of my favorite things to order at Thai restaurants, and I hunkered down, determined to make a version just as delicious for myself at home. It may not rival the dish at my favorite restaurant, but I was still really happy with the results, and my boyfriend ate 4 bowls of it. —mia0112
For the red curry paste:
- 3 medium shallots, sliced
- 1 stalk lemongrass (the tender portion only)
- 4 Thai red chilies
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped into chunks
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, ground with a mortar and pestle
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1 kaffir lime leaf
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
- Blend above ingredients in a food processor, adding a bit of water as needed to make a thick paste.
For the curry and rice:
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 cups chopped and peeled kabocha squash
- 2 red bell peppers, sliced thinly
- 15 ounces coconut milk
- 4 tablespoons red curry paste (recipe above)
- 3 kaffir lime leaves
- thai basil, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups brown jasmine rice
- 15 ounces light coconut milk
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
- dashes salt
- Add rice, water, light coconut milk, coconut flakes and salt to a rice cooker, or in a saucepan on the stove. If cooking on the stovetop, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes, or until rice is tender.
- Meanwhile, add the oil to a large pan (i used a deep sauté pan) and sauté the curry paste for 4-5 minutes. Add cubed squash, cover, and let cook for about 10-15 minutes or until tender. The squash should release quite a bit of water, but check, and if it’s sticking, add a few tbsp of water. Add the sliced bell peppers, and sauté for another few minutes, then add the coconut milk and the kaffir lime leaves. Remove from heat and add chopped basil. Serve over the brown rice with more coconut flakes for garnish.