Thursday, November 14, 2013

Kabocha Squash & Shrimp Curry

Well, it certainly has been a while since we've posted anything here, but tonight we happened onto a dish so tasty that it didn't seem right not to share.

Starting with a Thai-inspired curry paste, this savory curry gets a healthy dose of color, richness and sweetness from kabocha squash. They're a real pain in the neck to cut into and peel, but it was worth it. Coconut milk and a little fish sauce round out this tasty dinner, which we made in our electric pressure cooker.

Kabocha Squash & Shrimp Curry

For the curry paste
One half-inch slice of ginger, minced
Two cloves of garlic, minced
One stalk of lemongrass, outer sections removed, minced
One arbol chile -or- one teaspoon of a chili paste like samba oelek
Salt to taste
One kaffir lime leaf, minced, or about a half-teaspoon of lime zest

One tablespoon coconut oil
One half kabocha squash, seeds removed, peeled and chopped
Eight to twelve ounces of coconut milk
One tablespoon fish sauce
One pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on or off
A handful of greens (spinach, kale, etc.), coarsely shredded

Start with the curry paste: add all ingredients to a mortar and pestle and pulverize to the best of your ability, or, if you don't like unnecessary hard work, put everything in your food processor and grind into a coarse paste.

In the bowl of an electric pressure cooker on the medium heat setting, melt the coconut oil and sauté the curry paste for one or two minutes until fragrant. Add the squash, toss to coat everything, then add the coconut milk and fish sauce. Cover your pressure cooker, taking all appropriate safety precautions, and cook on the low pressure setting for about eight minutes.

Alternatives, if you don't have a pressure cooker: Well, you could just simmer the squash until tender with the lid on, or roast the squash separately and then add fully cooked at this point. The pressure cooker is really only to speed up the cooking of the squash because heck, it's a weeknight, and it needs to justify its existence somehow anyway.

When the pressure cooker is done and the squash is tender, add the shrimp. Cook on low to medium heat for a minute or two, then add the greens and cook for another minute until they're wilted. A nice addition might be a sprinkling of chopped cilantro before serving. Enjoy!

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