Increasingly more and more people are balancing their diet with vegetarian food and cutting out meat completely on some days of the week #meatfreemondays. Whilst I do eat meat and fish I am consciously eating less meat and more fish and vegetables. A balanced diet is important and I do enjoy eating meat but I am in the camp that it is unnecessary to eat it everyday.
My recipe here ‘Butternut Squash, Lemongrass, Coconut and Spinach Curry’ will hopefully convert even the meat lovers amongst you. It is packed with so much goodness and tastes really good, with a lovely chilli kick reverberating through the dish. For those who claim they can’t cook, seriously try this one. It is very easy to make and you can cook it in under 30 minutes. The hardest part is peeling the butternut squash. *Inventors* out there I would love you to come up with a device that makes it quick and easy to peel any type of squash or pumpkin. I use my regular peeler and knife and whilst it does not take long I know it can be done faster.
This recipe shouts SPRING to me, although that maybe because I put daffodils in the photo shoot. The bright yellow orange hue coming from the butternut squash and turmeric sings to me and makes it wonderfully appetising to look at and eat. I also love the burst of green from the spinach, fresh herbs and lime.
I have used fresh ginger paste and garlic paste, as I always have pots to hand in the fridge and for speed they are wonderfully helpful, but by all means use fresh ginger and garlic and then simply finely grate them so they become more paste like.
The sweetcorn adds a lovely crunch and texture to the dish alongside the soft butternut squash and spinach. I have added kaffir lime leaves as I often have some in my fridge/freezer. They freeze well and you can pick them up at the big supermarkets.
I don’t bother to take out the kaffir lime leaves or lemongrass when serving. I quite like the rustic, throw it together look. I also find the dish is a great pick me up if you are feeling a little under the weather. The ginger, turmeric, garlic, spinach and chilli really flood the body with so much goodness that a sense of wellbeing hits you almost immediately.
I would love you to give it a try and please let me know how you get on. Butternut squash (uncooked) last for weeks so I always have one ready to use.
Butternut Squash, Lemongrass, Coconut and Spinach Curry
3 tbsp ground nut oil
3 banana shallots (or 2 medium onions), finely sliced
1 tsp salt
2 lemongrass, outer leaves taken off and both ends and then bashed gently with a rolling pin
1 heaped tsp of ginger paste
1 heaped tsp of garlic paste
2 small red chillies, thinly sliced
3 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
1 tsp ground turmeric
200g chopped fresh tomatoes
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3cm cubes
500 ml of vegetable stock
1x 400ml can of coconut milk (I find Pride is nice and creamy)
1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
1 fresh corn on the cob, corn sliced off the cob
200g fresh spinach
handful of fresh coriander, to serve (optional)
handful of fresh mint, to serve (optional)
1/4 fresh lime per portion
1. Finely slice the banana shallots and then heat the oil in a large deep pan. When it is hot add the shallots and turn the heat down. Add the salt and stir into the shallots. Allow the shallots to soften, which will take a few minutes.
2. Add the garlic and ginger paste and stir into the shallots. Then add the chillies, lemongrass, ground turmeric and kaffir lime leaves. After a further minute add the fresh tomato and stir once again. Add the butternut squash and stir into all the other ingredients.
3. Add the stock, Thai fish sauce and the coconut milk and simmer gently for around 20 minutes, by which time the butternut squash will have nicely softened. If it needs a couple more minutes to soften adequately, carefully monitor as you do not want to over cook as mushy butternut squash is not so appealing. Add the sweetcorn 5 minutes before you wish to serve as it will take no time to cook.
4. Turn off the heat and add the fresh spinach and gently submerge in the sauce, which will wilt it perfectly.
5. Serve hot in bowls either with some jasmine rice or noodles. Add fresh coriander, mint and lime to suit individual tastes.
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