Sunday, October 25, 2009

Coconut Lemongrass Curry with Butternut Squash


Last week I accidentally opened a can of coconut milk thinking that it was something else. So I've been plotting to use it for a few days. Simultaneously, my friend emailed me looking for creative ways to use some pumpkins she picked. With the coconut milk on my mind, I told her she should make a coconut pumpkin curry, and gave her a few suggestions how to do that. I've been meaning to use up more butternut squash this way, but just haven't had the time in the past week. Last night, after a long day in Westchester at a baby shower and commuting back to Brooklyn, I got home around 7:30pm. Just enough time to sit and catch up on 30 Rock, and then have dinner ready by our standard eating time of 9:00pm. Factor in time to research how to prep lemongrass, since I had never used it before, and finding my long-lost hand-scribbled recipe for the "perfect curry" which I've assembled and adjusted over time. I haven't made curry since we moved, and that was January! Well, things are about to change. My new creation blew my husband away. He swears it was better than restaurant-quality, and more than suitable to present to guests - including his family (we have little crossover in the foods we ALL like). Plus, the Jasmine rice and aromatic spices made our apartment smell unbelievably delicious.

Coconut Lemongrass Curry with Butternut Squash
(serves 4)
1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter (*Vegetable or Canola oil for vegan*)
¼ C chopped Spanish Onion
1 Large clove garlic, minced
1 tspn ginger, minced
1 Tbsp finely chopped lemongrass
Top 1/3 of lemongrass stalk, scored with a knife and folded to bruise
2-1/2 C Butternut squash, peeled, chopped
1 Medium Carrot, peeled and chopped on the diagonal
½ C cherry tomatoes, sliced into halves

1 Can (13.5oz) Coconut Milk
¾ C water

Spices:
2 tsp Turmeric
½ tsp Coriander
½ tsp Cumin
1/8-1/4 tsp fresh grated Nutmeg
1/8 tsp (or more) Cayenne, to taste
½ tsp Kosher salt
1 heaping Tbsp Yellow Curry Powder

Chopped Cilantro
Juice of 1 Lime
½ C Lightly Toasted Cashews (raw, unsalted)
Cooked Brown Jasmine rice (follow package directions, allow up to 1 hour for cooking)

Heat butter in medium saucepan. Sauté onions and garlic in butter 3-4 minutes over medium heat, then add ginger and lemongrass and sauté for another 3-4 minutes. Add squash, carrot, water and coconut milk. Bring to a boil and add the spices. Add the lemongrass stalk – (this is not edible, just for flavoring). Taste for seasoning throughout cooking. Boil for about 10 minutes and add the cherry tomatoes. Cook for another 5-10 minutes until squash is cooked through, fork tender.

Before serving, squeeze half the lime juice into the curry and add about ½ the cashews. Serve garnished with chopped cilantro, toasted cashews. Spoon over jasmine rice with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, or with a lime wedge on the side.

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