This recipe will warm you on many levels. Thai butternut squash curry is easy to make and so satisfying. Shop bought Thai curry pastes often contain fish sauce, to ensure that your curry paste does not, follow the simple recipe below. The pan fried tofu is not essential, but it sure makes a nice addition. Plate the dish and then garnish with the pieces of fried tofu. Thai basil completes this dish, but is often hard to find, fresh coriander can also be used.

Thai Butternut Squash Curry

serves 4

1 tbsp sunflower, peanut or vegetable oil
Thai green curry paste (full amount of recipe below or shop bought)
2 tsp sugar
1 400ml tin coconut milk
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 red pepper, sliced
200g mushrooms, quartered
1 tbsp soy sauce
4 kaffir lime leaves, torn
handful Thai basil, torn
salt to taste
pan fried tofu (recipe below)

Start by making the curry paste below or use a pre-made paste. If using a pre-made paste, check instructions on how much to use, as it varies.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan, pan fry curry paste for 1 minute. Add sugar, tin of coconut milk and all the vegetables. Cover and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Check regularly.
Stir in soy sauce, lime leaves and fresh coriander. Taste and adjust seasoning, should be a bit spicy, creamy, sweet and salty. Serve with pan fried tofu (optional) and jasmine rice.

Thai Green Curry Paste

2 green long chillies, deseeded and chopped (leave some seeds in if you like it hot)
2 shallots, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 inch galangal or ginger, peeled and sliced
2 tsp lime zest
2 inch piece fresh lemongrass, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted
1/4 tsp salt

Toast cumin and coriander seeds in a dry frying pan. Combine all ingredients in a blender or with a hand blender until smooth, adding a little bit of water if necessary to get things moving. A mortar and pestle is traditionally used and can be used instead. This will keep in a jar for about 1 week. The recipe can be doubled or tripled and frozen.

Pan Fried Tofu

250g firm or extra firm tofu
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp flour
good pinch of salt
freshly ground pepper
1 tsp garlic granules (optional)
2 tbsp light oil (sunflower, vegetable, safflower, rapeseed)
Slice the tofu into 1/2 inch cubes

Remove tofu from packaging, wrap in tea towel and place weight on top for 10-15 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the tofu with the remaining ingredients, except the oil, and toss gently to coat the tofu well. Or, place all ingredients covered container and shake well.
In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the tofu. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown and lightly crispy.

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