With winter approaching, tasty root vegetables like swede, pumpkin and squash are bang in season. With their firm, hearty texture these kinds of veg make a great centerpiece for meat-free curries.
I’ve been making red thai curries for a while now and, whilst not necessarily 100% authentic, they’ve always gone down a treat with guests. Though I usually opt for pork, chicken or prawns in my curries I had a couple of vegetarian guests for dinner so thought I would have a crack at a tasty and suitably satisfying alternative.
You’re bound to have a lot of the ingredients in your pantry cupboard. The most expensive items are probably the squash and the aubergines. I receive a weekly veg box from Sussex-based Ashurst Organics, which is where I sourced these from – but in the shops you’d probably only be looking at a £3-4 for both. Approximate cost: £10
For the curry paste:
- 3 red chillis, de-seeded (unless you like it super spicy)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 3 bananas shallots
- Thumb-sized piece of ginger
- 2 stalks of lemongrass, outer layer removed
- The zest and juice of 1 lime
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce (optional – I found a recipe for vegan fish sauce if you want this to be strictly vegetarian, otherwise just omit it)
- 2 Tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Handful of coriander stalks (optional – I love coriander but know a lot of people don’t!)
For the curry:
- 2 medium aubergines/eggplants
- About 500g of squash, peeled and choped into bitesize chunks
- 8 – 10 chestnut mushrooms
- 1 tin of coconut milk
- 3 handfuls of cashew nuts
- Handful of coriander/cilantro
- 6 or so baby sweetcorns
- 2-3 handfuls of spinach
For the coriander Yogurt:
- Pot of yogurt
- Handful of coriander/cilantro
- Make the curry paste. Combine all the ingredients for the paste in a blender or food processor a few hours before you want to use it.
- Aubergines can sometimes taste quite bitter. To prevent this, chop your aubergines into bitesized pieces and place in a colander a few hours before you want to make your curry. Sprinkle a very, very generous amount of salt so they are basically coated(don’t worry, you’ll rinse them later), place a plate on top of them and weigh down with heavy weights. Leave for a couple of hours – this extracts the bitter juices from the aubergines.
- Rinse your aubergines and pat dry with kitchen towel or a (clean) tea-cloth. Heat about 3 tbsp of light oil (sunflower or vegetable) in a wok and fry the aubergine on both sides until they turn golden brown. Then remove from the oil.
- Heat some oil in a wok and fry the curry paste for around 1 minute until fragrant, but keep it moving so it doesn’t catch and burn – then add the squash and the coconut milk. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and the aubergines and simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Add the baby sweetcorn, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Add the cashews and spinach and stir until the spinach has wilted. Season to taste with soy sauce, black pepper and – if you want a slightly more sour hit – tamarind paste.
- Combine the yogurt and coriander to form the coriander yogurt, then serve everything with some boiled rice and top with extra cashews and coriander for a decorative effect.
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