Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thai Curry-Coconut Squash (and other eats)

This is such a simple and tasty dish. It's one of our favorites, and it makes a great side dish or a meal in itself along with a bit of brown rice and tofu or what have you...toss in some greens even. We like to eat it chunky, but you could also puree it into soup if you prefer.

Start with a kabocha squash...butternut would work too, but you want a nice sturdy squash that will hold its shape while gently braising. Cut  the squash into big chunks (if it's organic, I leave the skin on; it really becomes quite soft and palatable with braising, but it's up to you). Whisk together 2 parts unsalted veggie broth, 1 part full-fat coconut milk, and some Thai curry paste to taste. Bring the broth mix to a simmer then add the squash and let it cook gently over low until the squash is nice and soft, but still holding its shape.

Just in passing, I like Chaokoh brand coconut milk; it's good stuff, sumptuously thick and creamy. The only way it could be better is if it were organic...but hey, it's not a perfect world. Of course it's up to you, but, if you're inclined to buy light coconut milk because of fat/calorie concerns, my advice is: don't. Just buy full-fat and dilute it; you get twice as much for your money. (It stores fine in the freezer too.)

Use whatever type of curry paste you prefer. Green curry would be good too, but I prefer  a yellow or red curry paste. Heck, you could use more of an Indian style curry or whatever suits your fancy, so long as it's tasty.

These are rough estimates, but for ~2.5 lbs of chopped squash, I'll use 2 cups veggie broth, 1 cup thick coconut milk and 1 generous Tablespoon curry paste. (Adjust the paste to taste.)  Saltiness of prepared curries differ, so I recommend using unsalted veggie broth and then adding salt to the coconut/broth/curry mix if need be.

Serve with generous amounts of fresh squeezed lime juice, and garnish with chili sauce if you want more heat. Lime rounds out the flavor nicely. 

In other news, I don't blog about everyday eats very often, but here are some recent weeknight meals:

Big salad of lacinato kale, chard, and romaine along with shredded carrot, red cabbage, sweet onion, and cherry tomato, topped with some oven-roasted buffalo-style tofu. I made the buffalo sauce starting with tomato paste, vinegar, and coconut palm sugar, and garlic, then added water and a generous amount of Tapatio sauce. It was spicy!

After the pic, I dressed it with some vegan ranch dressing, (plain soy yogurt, cider vinegar, umeboshi vinegar, a pinch of kala namak salt and lots of garlic and herbs)...don't know whether ranch tastes like that dressing, but it was rich-tasting, garlicky and herby, and I thought it suited the spicy tofu well.

Another pile of greens, this time with roasted apple, brussel's sprouts, and Japanese sweet potato, green beans, pomegranite, hemp seeds, and tomato. Yam would have been nicer visually, but I can't resist Japanese sweet potato, they're so sweet and good. I think this was dressed with nut yeast, Bragg's aminos, and cider vinegar.

Very plain, but delicious nonetheless, lentils with Field Roast Italian-style Vegan sausage and kale. Saute base was celery/onion/ garlic and spiced with fennel seed, bay leaf, chili flakes and oregano.

And the true star of the bunch (in spite of being photographed in the drear of my kitchen) this sandwich was the farthest thing from dreary. It was one of the many sandwich creations sparked by Maud's enticing offering a while back. Seriously, versions of her sandwich did the rounds on the the blogs. My version ended up as balsamic-roasted eggplant, smoky white bean spread (basically hummus made with cannelini beans instead of garbanzos and a few drops of liquid smoke added), sun dried tomato pesto, baby greens, and sweet onion on a wheat/herb/walnut baguette. 

I'm really looking forward to the holiday season this year...(unlike in past few years for various reasons). The time for cozy nights and delicious harvest meals is upon us! What are any US vegans planning for Thanksgiving? I always look forward to seeing the many ingenious, sumptuous creations that end up on the holiday tables and shine at mixed gatherings!

Talk to you soon! 


  1. What beautiful meals! I can't even pick out which one is my favorite! The second salad and the soup are definitely sounding REALLY amazing right now. Roasted apples AND brussels sprouts!? Sounds like a total winner to me. And as usual, all of your photos are gorgeous.

  2. Those are some delicious looking meals! I like the idea of buying full-fat coconut milk and then just diluting it. I always buy the reduced fat kind, but for the same price, why not get double the amount?

  3. It looks like you eat pretty well every day...you should post them, those big salads and...piles of miscellaneous deliciousness...are so inspiring! And, of course, anything with kabocha squash in any format whatsoever. It's my absolute favorite food these days.

  4. Let me second Zoa and say that yes, I would love to see more of these "everyday" meals, and am jealous that my daily slop is nowhere near this gorgeous! I'm curious now: what is the story with Japanese sweet potatoes? I don't think I've seen them. I would also love to know how you did your buffalo tofu. Thanks also for the squash recipe-we're awash in squash here and I gotta get some inspiration. I love squash, but at the same time I am loathe to accept the fact that it really is starting to be winter veg time :(.

  5. Your Maudwich looks like it turned out great! I'm glad you tried it. That white bean spread is delicious, isn't it?

    I've never liked any curry I've had in restaurants, other than a peanut curry, so I should try something like this at home. It sounds so good & I adore squash.

    The soup & salads look great!

  6. As always, such an enticing, drool-generating, deliciously creative post! I love squash, and am MOST impressed with your amazing salad! Heck, I thought I made elaborate salads, but you are the world champion! :-) That sandwich looks wonderful too. I really need to grill me an eggplant one of these days. (Still trying to get over that vile eggplant dish I made that time, lol)

    I'm glad you're looking forward to the holidays this year! Me too! It'll be fun to decorate our new digs for Christmas. We plan to put outdoor lights up, something we never bothered to do up on the mountain because of a) the destructive winds and b) the fact almost no one would see them! Here it's a different story, since we're in a sheltered spot and a very public place! And what's cozier-looking than a little cottage festooned with Christmas lights? :-)

    As for Thanksgiving, we've been invited once again to Dave and Vistara's vegan celebration. We've been tasked with bringing a salad, the pumpkin pie (which was such a hit last year), and a bottle of wine. I need to make a trial-run pie soon, since I'll be making it at such a different altitude and in such a different oven. I'd probably better make two experimental pies to eat first, come to think of it. Don't want to disappoint everyone at the Big Holiday Meal with a sub-standard pie! (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!) ;-)

  7. That squash looks so good, I'm buying the ingredients the next time I go shopping. Thanks Rose.

  8. The squash sounds so good! And I've never seen that particular paste before? I also love the sound of what you added to your sandwich! I love all the ingredients and I haven't had sundried tomatoes in forever!

  9. All I can say is WOW!!! What awesome meals you've been making. You've got so many good eats posted that I don't know where to begin. :o) The squash looks and sounds so good. I've never used a curry paste. I've always just used the powder. Is the paste much better?
    The soup looks so warming. I'm going to need a bowl of that tomorrow night, because it's supposed to get down to 29...brrrrr.
    Your version of Maud's sandwich looks great!

  10. Everything looks fabulous and I bet it was great. Millie


  11. Sarah,

    I love this time of year because brussel's sprouts are everywhere. They're one of my favorite vegetables. Soo good roasted as you know! :)


    I agree...can't go wrong getting twice as much for the money. :)


    Miscellaneous deliciousness is a good way to sum it up; I love throwing tons of stuff in salad and munch away.


    Awash in squash! Sounds like a good problem to have :)

    As for the buffalo tofu...I don't remember the exact ingredients, but I know I looked up a buffalo sauce recipe and used it as a guide. I made a basic tomato sweet and sour sauce (BBQ) and then added some garlic and lots of hot sauce. I didn't add the margarine that the recipe called for though. Then it was just a matter of roasting it in the oven...the edges got a little burnt and caramelized.


    Thai curries are my favorite kind. The tend to be on the hot side, but I know you like hot food too.

  12. I love kabocha squash in curry. Do you ever get squash from the Japanese farmer at University market? Those are the best. Where do you get that brand of coconut milk?

  13. Your home sounds like a very happy place. It's always interesting to see what doesn't make it to people's blogs. The curry sounds amazing, I've got to pick up more squash. The lacinto kale salad with buffalo tofu also sounds great! I would never have paired the two, but I'm pretty boring like that, haha.
    Your version of the sandwich looks awesome too! I love that you used eggplant and put liquid smoke in the beans! I've never tried liquid smoke, but it seems amazing.

  14. Laurie,

    Can't wait to see your cute little cottage done up in lights...I'm sure it will feel all fun and cozy! And yes, I think you definitely need to make some trial runs of that pie!!

    Seriously, though...it is a good idea...I've never cooked at high altitudes, so would be interesting to see how recipes differ accordingly. Also...new ovens can always throw you for a loop!

    Oh, and definitely get some eggplant going...it's so innocent thinly sliced, roasted, and adoringly drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

  15. Hey Jennifer,

    Glad you like the sound of it...you'll have to let us know how you liked it and any twists you make in your version!! :)

    Hi Carissa!!

    How's Hawaii? Awesome, I'm sure. Anyway, yeah, the curry paste is from Oregon so might only have made it to shops along the west coast...don'
    t know for sure. It's pretty good though. I like it better, I think than the Thai Kitchen brand.

  16. Michelle,

    I'm not sure if pastes are better than powders...maybe just stronger and more flavorful. I usually use dry spices for Indian style curries too, but with Thai curries I've either made my own pastes (usually not as good as a good storebought one) or bought them. They really do add some authentic flavor if you get a good one.

    29 degrees...yikes it's not got that cold here yet. Soup sounds perfect for those temps...stay warm and cozy! :)

  17. Hi Andrea!

    I love kabocha...it is especially suited to curries I think. Have you had any of the specials they do this time of year with it at Jhan Jay? I keep meaning too, but then I always cop out and get one of my favs from the regular menu.

    I haven't been to the University farmers market in ages...I must rectify that...maybe this Saturday will be the day. I get the coconut milk at the Greenwood Market on 85th...they usually have it in stalk. But, I don't think WF or PCC carries it...maybe PCC does, not sure.

    Looking forward to Sunday!!! If I get some of that awesome kabocha you speak of, might just have to bring some along! :)

  18. PS: is it a full moon? I think so or pretty close, my spelling errors have gone wild!! It's been sort of an odd day all round. :)

  19. Maud!!! Hi!

    Tis' the season for squash! I know what you mean about the items that get into posts...at least with me, I'm so lazy about taking pics and posting on a regular basis. But, I really enjoy the blogs that do...they're some of my favorites. It's fun to see what people eat from day to day...sort of like seeing what's in other peoples shopping trolleys at the grocery store...I always like to snoop a little, discretely of course! :)

    The buffalo tofu did go well with the kale and the ranch-style dressing...strong flavors and textures and the dressing is thick enough sort of weighs down the kale and gets caught in all those little wrinkles it has.

    You know, I always hated the idea of liquid smoke...don't know why, just sounded so artificial or something. But I broke down and bought some last year and it's pretty ok...adds nice flavor to recipes when you want it...a little goes a very long way though...it's strong stuff! :)

  20. There's a bake sale at the market this weekend in the building. It's not vegan, but I'll be there with some vegan goods.

  21. Thanks Millie!!!


    Sounds cool. I'm taking my foster kitty to a cat adoption event in Ravenna on Sat from 11:30-3:00...I was thinking about stopping by the farmers market afterwards. Maybe see you then.

  22. As usual, my mind is blown. The Roasted Apples are beautiful..

    PLEASE DO NOT PUT MOLLY UP FOR ADOPTION!!!! Only you can give her the loving home that is right for her. I'm begging you, Rose. Don't do it to her.

  23. Shen,

    I am seriously starting to get very cold feet about Saturday. I might go to the adoption event and adopt her myself...she's such a sweetie.

    Is your feeling that our house is the right home for her sort of a psychic thing? I'm just worried about her going somewhere less than ideal.

  24. Yes, Molly would be so heartbroken to be shopped out like she meant nothing to you.

    I adopted a foster kitty many years ago, and the foster mother emailed me for years asking about how she was. I know she regretted letting the cat ('Thumper', she's been shown on my blog a few times) go. She's such a love bug.

  25. Shen,

    I feel exactly the same way. There have been other kitties I fostered that found homes quickly and though it was sad, it didn't feel like this. Lucky was a foster that we ended up adopting; they jokingly call it "foster failure" when a foster parent adopts their foster cats. But, you know what? I'm a failure. I'm not taking Molls to the event tomorrow. We're adopting her next week. :)

  26. PS Rose, do you eat the peel on your squash? I never thought winter squash peels were edible, but I would like to expand the boundaries of things I don't have to peel.

  27. The best cat I ever had was a 'foster failure'. Totally meek and ignored in the shelter. Once I got her home, she was a total superstar. We just orbited around her.

  28. Ah, never mind my question on your vegan clam chowder post! :-) Yay and congratulations to you and Molly-Cat! I'm so glad for you both! (And I love Shen's "foster failure" story!)

  29. Stacy,

    Yes, if it's organic, I usually leave the skin on depending on what type of squash it is. With kabocha, I might peel it for roasting, but braising it makes the skin tender enough to eat. Some squash like delicata are great roasted with the skin on in my opinion, of course it's a matter of taste. But, the delicata skin tends to be tender by nature. I think all parts of squash plants are edible. I agree, the less peeling, the better. :)

  30. Shen,

    So true, many of the cats that get passed over at the shelter are the nicest and most wonderful kitties. Molly is a star as far as personality goes; if I took her to the adoption event, I'm sure she would have been adopted. It felt too much like selling her off at auction though, and you're right; she would have hated it. :)


    You're so sweet for thinking about us! I just got cold feet and cancelled yesterday. I think we're the same...I'll have to think twice about fostering in future, lest we end up with tens of cats! :)

  31. Whew, what a lot of great food! We loooove curry here in our home and do a similar blend as you. Yum, can't go wrong with it. I could also munch on all the other food you posted pics of. So hearty looking and colorful.

  32. Thanks BlessedMama...curry always hits the spot doesn't it?

  33. All of your meals look so comforting and warming.
    I love curry and that salad looks amazing!
    We are going to celebrate Thanksgiving at my in-laws who aren't vegan...I usually make a vegetable succatosh. My mother-in-law said she is making some sort of vegetable casserole, then we'll have salad. I might make a cornbread stuffin and a homemade tempeh/tofu patties served with gravy.

  34. Dreaminitvegan,

    I've never had succotash, but I've always wanted to try it. A cornbread stuffing sounds really good too!

  35. Super post Rose, I like all the dishes, the soup in particular (maybe because I am Italian???)

    We don't have Thanksgiving here but I look forward to see what US bloggers come up with!


  36. Thanks Alessandra! The soup was one of my favs too. :)

  37. I've got to stop doing this - reading when I can't comment, then looking back at a blog, thinking I know I already read that. Then later, I realize I didn't comment. My brain is very clogged up.

    The sandwich is my favorite. I love the way you described it. I learn so much about flavoring foods from everybody.

  38. Jenny:

    I think the sandwich was my favorite too! :)

  39. Great post. I have posted on making a Thai red curry paste.http://caroleschatter.blogspot.co.nz/2011/11/how-to-make-proper-red-curry-paste.html


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