Butternut Squash Massaman Curry


Many years ago now, we found a gem of a Thai restaurant just by Battersea Village in London. It blew our minds as it was super fresh, totally authentic and extremely delicious, with decor to match, four poster beds outside overlooking the Thames and amazing vintage artefacts from Thailand. I had never tasted such food and needless to say the cocktails rocked too. It was here that I had my first Massaman Curry. Unlike any curry I had had before, more ‘meaty’ less creamy and with flavours to match.

This is a vegetable version of my first one! Taken from the brilliant ‘The Doctors Kitchen’ by Dr Rupy Aujla, such a yummy book. I did make my own Massaman Paste, as I have tried it with brought and actually it’s worth the extra 15 minutes to do it, if you can be bothered! Serves 3/4

2 tbsp coconut oil

3 tsp Massaman paste (brought or home made)

100g coconut cream

500g butternut squashed, peeled, diced into around 4cms cubes

300ml vegetable stock

2 tsp fish sauce

2 bay leaves

1 tsp runny honey

50g sugar snap peas, roughly chopped

50g spinach, roughly chopped

25g coriander, roughly chopped

20g dry roasted flaked almonds

sea salt and ground pepper

cooked brown rice, to serve

Melt the coconut oil in a pan over a medium heat, and add the Massaman paste. Cook for about a minute and then add the coconut cream. Place the butternut squash into this pan, season with salt and pepper, gently stirring, and cook for about 2-3 minutes until lightly coloured.

Pour in the stock and fish sauce, bay leaves and honey, cover and simmer for around 25 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the sauce has reduced a bit.

Remove from the heat, fold in the sugar snaps and spinach, and cover for 2 minutes, the heat of the curry will lightly cook them, so they will remain green and crunchy!

Finish the curry off with coriander and flaked almonds, serve on its own or with some brown rice. Enjoy xxx

Massaman Paste

Dry spices

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 star anise

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp seeds from green cardamon pods

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon bark

Wet spices

4 cms of lemongrass, tender base only, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

10g galangal or ginger, peeled and finely chopped

2 shallots, finely chopped

Place all the dry spices in a dry frying pan and lightly toast over a medium heat for 1-2 minutes, to allow all their aromas to release

Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool, then tip them into a spice or coffee bean grinder or pestle and mortar and grind to a fine powder.

Put the wet spices into a dry frying pan and toast for around 2-3 minutes until they just release their aromas and lightly coloured, transfer to a pestle and mortar and pound to make a paste, add the dry spices as you go, or as I did, cheat and pop them into a small food processor and whizz, adding the dry spices as you go until you have a smooth paste.

This will keep in an air tight container in the fridge for up to four weeks.

Emma Longmore