For my non-meat eating friends, my sister, who has a prepared food business (organic, gluten free and some vegan), suggested a curry called Panang. It’s less soupy, less spicy and a tad sweeter than the Thai green and red curries, and lends itself to a vegetarian substitute for meat. At the beginning of fall, this curry with squash (acorn, butternut, and kabocha all work well) is a customer favorite. The easy way to make it at home is by using a ready-made curry paste (Mae Sri is my favorite) but I like to deconstruct and blend my own spices, so I’ve included my panang curry paste here. Also, if you want to make this dish vegan, you should blend your own spices, as most prepared panang curry pastes include shrimp paste, fish sauce (and sometimes MSG!). I made my curry on the thicker side to be more of a sauce for the veggies, so no accompanying rice, quinoa, udon noodle needed (unless you want).
Some of the ingredients are tough to find unless you have access to an Asian store, so I’ve listed substitutes on my blog (http://edamame2003.blogspot.com/2010/11/sides-of-november.html#more) - edamame2003
Test Kitchen Notes
Contrasting sweet kabocha and tender crisp kale, lightly cloaked in a flavorful, fragrant curry, edamame2003’s recipe leaves little to want for. This is much more than a delightful side; with an addition of protein (tofu to keep it vegetarian, or chicken), I can imagine making it for a weeknight dinner. Her spot-on curry paste is easy to make and well worth the extra minutes in exchange for a flavor that is bright, fresh and incomparable to something store-bought (although if in a real pinch, edamame2003 recommends her favorite ready-made paste). I don’t think I used enough kale or perhaps the best variety for this recipe. I had a large bag of baby red Russian kale from the farmer’s market -- a heartier variety, perhaps curly kale, might hold its own a little better. No matter though, I still loved every bite and enjoyed it with rice so I could soak up every delicious drop. —gingerroot
Curry Paste (use all--this recipe makes about 3-4 Tablespoons)
dried chile peppers (I used California peppers)
kaffir lime zest
Curried Kale and Kabocha
kabocha squash (I like kabocha because you don't have to peel it, but you can use acorn or butternut)
Cut the stems off the peppers and empty out the seeds. Chop the peppers. Cover with water and microwave for about 30 seconds.
I juice the lemon grass and galangal so that I don’t have to strain the paste, but you can chop the lemon grass ends and galangal into small rounds and strain when done.
Toast the cumin and coriander seed until they 'pop' (about 3 minutes)
Place all the paste ingredients in a mortar or blender and blend into a smooth paste. If you didn't juice the lemon grass and galangal (and there are pieces) you should strain the paste.
Cut the squash and kale into 2" pieces
Heat the oil in a pan and add the paste (use only 1-2 Tablespoons if using the pre-made paste) and heat until it separates.
Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil, then lower to simmer. Add the almond butter to thicken and salt to taste.
You can either add the squash and let simmer in the curry for about 20 minutes or until the squash has softened or steam the squash separately and gently mix the curry with the vegetables when ready to serve.
Throw kale into the pot and cover for 5 minutes. The kale doesn't need to steam for long, as it tastes best on the crispy side.
I work in the entertainment business, and in my free time, I really enjoy growing my own vegetables, trolling my local farmers markets and trying to re-create yummy dishes I eat at my favorite restaurants. My son is a big influence on how and what I cook. He's my guinea pig and promises to try anything I make once. Luckily the recipes on food52 are bountiful and delicious.