Chock full of chicken, squash, and basil, this Thai Butternut Squash curry is a one-pot wonder. Not only is it healthy and dairy-free, it is perfectly adaptable to your tastes. Red curry, coconut milk and Thai basil gives the dish its deep flavor while Thai chile adds a mild kick.
(Adapted from Leela Punyaratabandhu’s Simple Thai Food cookbook)
Curry lovers, rejoice, this recipe is for you! Today I am sharing a warming bowl of Thai Butternut Squash Curry, a new favorite of mine for these busy days and perfect for these cooler Autumn nights. It seems especially appropriate to share this now as it just dipped down to the 40s here this week!
This Thai curry is packed with nourishing butternut squash and chicken. It’s got a mild kick to it from the red curry and the red Thai chile. This recipe is healthy, dairy free and can easily be made vegetarian or vegan.
Thai Butternut Squash Curry Ingredients
What makes this recipe easy is that it’s made in one pot and the ingredients can be adaptable to fit your own needs, time, and diet.
- Coconut oil: You can use vegetable oil, canola oil, or another oil of your choice.
- Full-fat Coconut milk: Do not use lite coconut milk. The full-fat coconut milk adds incredible richness.
- Butternut squash: One of the main stars of the recipe. It adds to the creaminess of the sauce. See below for other substitutions.
- Fish sauce, Red Thai chile, and Thai basil: all common ingredients found in Thai cooking. I found these at my local Asian market.
- Light brown sugar
- Chicken thighs
- Red curry paste: What is red curry paste? Red curry paste is made with dried Thai long chilies, bird’s eye chiles, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime rind, shrimp paste and other aromatics. These ingredients are pounded into a paste. The paste is best made fresh but these ingredients are not always available, so store-bought curry paste is often used. I use store-bought here. You can find it at your local asian market or grocery store.
4 Simple Steps: How to make this quick and easy Thai Butternut Squash Curry
- Combine base flavors by incorporating the curry paste into the coconut milk first.
- Cook butternut squash in the coconut milk mixture to soften it.
- Add the chicken, red chile, basil leaves and simmer until fully cooked.
- Serve with more Thai Basil leaves on top and over rice.
Customize this Thai Curry Dish (Substitutions that work)
- In a pinch, you can use already frozen cubed butternut squash. Just add couple more minutes to step 2.
- I like this with jasmine white rice, but basmati, wild rice, brown rice, cauliflower rice or any other grain will do. Anything that can really soak up the sauce is great.
- To fully round out the meal, serve with a veggie dish. I like to serve this with my quick and easy roasted broccoli or Chinese broccoli.
- Top with as many Thai basil leaves as you would like. Add extra red chilies for as much heat as you want.
- To make this dish vegan or vegetarian, omit the fish sauce, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, and replace the chicken with chickpeas, tofu or another vegan protein. If you are using store-bought red curry paste, make sure it is vegetarian. I like Thai Kitchen’s brand.
- Instead of butternut squash, try Kobocha squash, pumpkin, acorn squash, carrots or sweet potato. They are all delicious here. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- For an even thicker sauce per Leela’s advice, you can strain out some of the sauce after the chicken is fully cooked and simmer the strained liquid in a separate small saucepan until it’s been reduced by half.
- For those who like their food spicier, feel free to add more red curry paste. Add less if you prefer it milder. Do not omit it altogether! It’s the main flavor of the dish.
- Store any leftovers in a container in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze up to a month.
Enjoy, and as always comment below to let me know if you’ve tried this!Print
Chock full of chicken, squash, and basil, this Thai Butternut Squash curry is a one-pot wonder. Not only is it healthy and dairy-free, it is perfectly adaptable to your tastes. Red curry, coconut milk and Thai basil gives the dish its deep flavor while the Thai chile adds a mild kick.
- 1 T. coconut oil
- 1 – 13.5 oz can coconut milk
- 2 T. red curry paste
- 1 medium butternut squash, halved, seeded and sliced into 1-inch cubes (1.5 lbs)
- 2 T. fish sauce
- 1.5 T. light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced thinly
- 1 large red Thai chile, seeded and sliced into strips
- 1/2 cup Thai basil
- Combine base flavors: In a medium-sized pot, heat 1 T. coconut oil until melted. Add half the can of coconut milk and all the red curry paste. Stir and break up the paste until well incorporated, about 3 minutes.
- Cook butternut squash: To the pot, add the rest of the coconut milk and fish sauce. Add the butternut squash carefully and ensure every piece is covered by sauce. Adjust the temperature to high and bring the squash mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and let the squash simmer for 5-6 minutes. It should still be slightly firm and will soften completely when it is cooked with the chicken.
- Add chicken: Add the chicken broth, brown sugar, and chicken to the pot. Increase the temperature to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir until the chicken turns opaque, about 3 minutes. Take the pot off the heat, and stir in the Thai basil leaves and sliced red chiles.
- Garnish: Serve with more Thai Basil leaves on top and over rice or another grain.
Keywords: One-Pot, Chicken, Curry, Thai, Butternut Squash, Fall, Autumn, Dairy-free, Healthy