Thai Red Curry with Kabocha

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Halloween is tomorrow, isn’t it? San Franciscans often appear in costume/drag throughout the year, but this past weekend a noticeably larger than average number of people were wearing costumes or at least headgear in preparation for the big day.  I find little kids and dogs especially adorable in costume, but rarely dress up myself any more. I do love pumpkin, though, and probably focus more on that part of Halloween more than tricks or treats.  (If you want treats, I’ve got you covered too– there’s my Pumpkin Flan, Pumpkin Spice Muffins, and last week’s Pumpkin Hummus.  For a crunchy snack, try my Mexican Spiced Pepitas.  I also have a good recipe to reuse whatever Halloween candy you’re left with the day after: Compost Blondies.) And for a good story, here’s one from when my little one was little.

But if you’re looking for a warming dish that focuses more on pumpkin than sugar, may I suggest a nice bubbling cauldron pot of the warming Thai Red Curry with Kabocha?  It’s easy to prepare and if you have extra, those will be better leftovers than a pumpkin full of Halloween candy.  At least for me! Enjoy!

Thai Kabocha Curry with Tofu

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This is a traditional Thai curry, with bright herbaceous flavors of kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass, turmeric and galangal.  Note: most canned curry pastes are not vegetarian, as they may contain shrimp or fish pastes.  As always, read your labels!

Serves: 8


½ lb firm tofu, drained and pressed and sliced into ¼ inch thick, 1“x2” rectangles

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

1 medium yellow onion, medium dice

1 teaspoon fine kosher salt

1 medium green bell pepper and 1 medium red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, and cut in ½ and then into 1/4-inch strips

4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger (from about a 1-1/2-inch piece)

2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (from a small can)

1 cup unsweetened regular coconut milk

1 cup water, plus additional if needed

1/2 medium kabocha squash (about 1 pound total), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (may substitute butternut squash)

freshly squeezed juice from ½ a lime

8-12 leaves basil (preferably Thai)

To serve: Steamed brown jasmine rice


  1. Prepare the tofu: warm 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick pan over medium high heat.  Add tofu in a single layer and fry on each side until golden.  Set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining 1 T oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened, about 6 minutes. Add the peppers, garlic, and ginger, stir to combine, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the curry paste, stir to coat the onion-pepper mixture, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the coconut milk and water, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer.
  4. Stir in the squash and prepared tofu and add water, if needed to have a thin sauce.  Scatter basil leaves on top, but do not stir.  Return to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium low, and continue to simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the squash is fork-tender but still firm, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Taste and season with salt as needed.  Serve with steamed rice.

Nutrition Analysis Per Serving:

170 calories, Carbohydrate: 10 g, Dietary Fiber: 1 g, Total Fat: 13 g, Protein: 5 g, Sodium 410 mg, Added Sugar 0 g

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Want more recipes like this? Come join me in the Thrive Kitchen at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco, Mission Bay. You can get more information by joining my Facebook community, The next class is coming up soon, 11/14: Thanksgiving: Extreme Makeover. Don’t miss your chance to secure a spot! Email or call 415-833-3450 for more information and to register. Hope to cook with you soon!

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

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Pumpkin, Yayoi Kusama, 2016. Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.