While I was cooking, the smell of this curry brought back fond memories of the week and a half we spent in Bang Saphan Yai, Thailand. The family owned the collection of beach bungalows where we stayed made a different dinner each night we were there, and this curry was one of the best things I’d ever tasted in my life.
Massaman curry usually contains beef and potatoes, and is common in Southern Thailand. Most Thais who aren’t Muslim don’t eat beef, and I don’t anymore either, but I wanted to make a vegetarian (and healthier) version of this rich, spicy curry.
I started off by steaming chunks of sweet potato and acorn squash in a bamboo steamer, and also used tofu, broccoli, carrots, onions, and tomatoes. With light coconut milk, fresh curry paste and all those vegetables, it has great flavor without being too rich. I think next time I may use kabocha or butternut squash instead, because their texture is a little more solid.
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1″ chuncks
1 small squash (acorn, kabocha, or butternut), cut into chunks and seeds removed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tbsp Yellow Curry paste (you can also use store-bought, but I think homemade is better)
1 roma tomato, chopped
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
8 ounces extra firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into 1 cm cubes
1 16 ounce can light coconut milk
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp peanuts
Place the squash and potato chunks in a bamboo steamer over boiling water, and steam until tender (or cook in the microwave). Set aside. I think it’s easiest to keep the peel on the squash until it’s steamed, because it’s much easier to remove it after it has cooked.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium-high. Add the curry paste and chopped tomato and stir-fry until very fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the broccoli, carrot, and onion and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the curry powder, coconut milk, sugar, soy sauce, tofu, squash, and sweet potato, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the broccoli and carrots are tender.
While the curry is simmering, toast the peanuts in a dry skillet until golden brown. Cool, then chop.
Once the vegetables are tender, taste and adjust the seasonings, then ladle over rice and top with chopped peanuts.