Oh yes, I did.
Two weeks ago, when I was admiring all the different squashes at the Farmers' Market and learning all their names, I became smitten with the Red Kuri squash and my mind wandered off to the same geeky place that gets excited about odd coloured vegetables and comes up with Estimated Energy Needs spreadsheets...
"Wouldn't it be awesome/lame if I made a Red Kuri Red Curry?"
First of all, I had to figure out whether this was feasible. After a quick search on my Google Reader, I found that Béa at La Tartine Gourmande has a Curried Red Kuri Squash, but she used regular curry powder and cumin. Heidi at 101 Cookbooks has a Thai-spiced Pumpkin Soup that did use Thai red curry paste, but it was rather plain. However, the two recipes were inspiration enough that red kuri squash and red curry paste would work together, and I started dreaming up a more stew-like, clam-less version of Béa's recipe.
Random Tangent: While we're on the subject of names, I found out that the French name for red kuri squash is "potimarron", which is pretty cool because "marron" is "chestnut" in French, and "kuri (栗)" is the Japanese word for chestnut, a reference to the hint of chestnut flavour in the squash. But really, the French have the prettiest names for food - aubergine (eggplant), citrouille (pumpkin), topinambour (Jerusalem artichoke/sunchoke)...
I went to the Farmers' Market again this time to pick up the ingredients - it's crazy how much more in tune you become with what's in season when you shop there... vegetables like squash, potatoes, onions and carrots are still in full-swing, but my favourite honeycrisp apples were starting to look a little sad... I saw leeks from in-province and from as far as California! There were also zucchinis from Mexico! I did manage to pick up everything I wanted/needed (Almost all the produce was from AB or BC, except the zucchini, which was from the States) and then got cooking that evening.
The recipe was a success! The Thai red curry paste really brings a distinctive aroma to the dish with its lemongrass, galangal and keffir lime leaves, and the squash and carrot make this a sweet, earthy dish. I'm excited to be bringing this to work this week!
It's also rare for me to dine alone (everyone was out of the house with Halloween plans), so I finally had the chance to try out a trick I learned from Lara, the talented photographer behind Cook & Eat and Still Life With:
Red Kuri Red Curry
Adapted from La Tartine Gourmande
Makes 6-8 servings
- 30 mL (2 tbsp) olive oil
- ¼ onion, chopped
- 1-2 leeks, white part only, chopped*
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 15 mL (1 tbsp) Thai red curry paste
- 500 g red kuri squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
- 4 carrots (150 g), peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 zucchini (210 g), cut into pieces
- 375 mL (1½ cups) water**
- 125 mL (½ cup) red lentils
- 375 mL (1½ cups) water
- 125 mL (½ cup) coconut milk ("light" coconut milk is fine; you can make your own by mixing coconut milk with water)
*I bought leeks that were way more green than white, so I used two. **I used 2 cups of water, but found it a little too soupy. Try starting with 1½ cups and adding more if necessary, remembering that the cooked lentils and coconut milk will add more moisture in the end. Nutrition Info (for 1/6 of recipe): 172 calories, 9 g fat (4 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 19 g carbohydrates (3 g fibre, 3 g sugar), 6 g protein, 102 mg sodium. An excellent source of vitamin E, folate and manganese. A good source of vitamin A, iron, magnesium, potassium and copper.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add onion, leek and celery. Sweat for 2 minutes, until soft, making sure that the vegetables never brown by stirring constantly and keeping the heat at med-low. Add curry paste and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
- Add the rest of the vegetables and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
- Add 375 mL (1½ cups) water and simmer, covered for 20 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft.
- While curry is simmering, in a small pot, cook red lentils in another 375 mL (1½ cups) of water until soft. Most of the water will be absorbed.
- When curry is ready, stir in coconut milk and lentils and season with salt, pepper, or additional curry paste to taste. Serve on rice or anything else that will soak up the yummy sauce.