Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Butternut Squash and Prawn, Thai style curry

I had a dream….

…. Sorry, nothing deep and meaningful like Martin Luther King’s.  Mine was a bit silly but it inspired this supper dish.

It was one of those nights when you wake up in the middle of it and just can’t get back to sleep.  You go downstairs and make a hot drink, then curl up on the sofa to watch TV.  On this occasion it was an episode of Nigel Slater’s Simple suppers that I’d recorded earlier in the day.

I’m not quite sure when I fell into a deep sleep that involved my dream:  I was Nigel Slater’s new assistant.  He’d just cooked the most amazing spicy creamy Thai concoction with prawns and squash and coconut milk, and I was busy washing up the dishes in his quirky cartoon-like kitchen (very different from the simple elegant one he uses on tv.)  He was getting ready to go to the pub for a drink with his friends, to which I’d also been invited. He popped his head around the kitchen door wearing a bright yellow sou'wester and a colourful knitted Peruvian hat with earflaps, that had a lot of pink and yellow and pale blue in it…not his usual black…

…It was at that point that I was woken by the sound of A coming downstairs to see where I was….

…I was so disappointed to wake up and realise that Nigel Slater wasn’t my new best friend and I wasn’t working for him!  I clearly remember thinking in my dream that I must take everyone I know to meet him…but just say I was introducing them to my new friend and not tell them who it was, because I didn’t want them to get star struck!!

No new job, but at least I could try to make the spicy Thai prawn and squash concoction. 

To make
Butter Nut Squash and Prawn, Thai style Curry 
for two people you will need:
  • Half a medium sized, or one small butternut squash. Peeled de-seeded and cut into mouth sized chunks.
  • Enough fresh or de-frosted frozen prawns for two people.
  • A can of low fat coconut milk.
  • A piece of lemon grass.
  • A small piece of fresh ginger.
  • Two spring onions.
  • A couple of cloves of garlic.
  • A little bit of ground cinnamon.
  • A little bit of ground cumin.
  • Two to three chillies.
  • Fresh flat leaved parsley.
  • Nam Pla Thai fish sauce.
  • The juice and zest of one lime.
  • Plain boiled white rice to serve.
  • Oil for cooking
  1. Give the lemon grass a good bashing with a rolling pin and then slice finely. 
  2. Chop the Parsley, spring onions and chillies, grate the ginger and crush the garlic.
  3. Place all these ingredients in a blender.  If you don't have a blender chop everything as finely as possible and pound in a mortar with a pestle.
  4. Pour some plain oil ( I used olive because that's all I had but any plain oil will do) into a frying pan and begin to cook out these ingredients.  
  5. After a few minutes add the dried spices and cook these out for a minute of so, stirring so they don't stick.
  6. Add the zest and then the juice of one lime and cook a little longer.
  7. Pour in the coconut milk.  Add the Nam Pla sauce and give a good stir and let the liquid heat up before popping in the uncooked squash.
  8. Reduce the heat and leave to cook until the squash is tender but not mushy.  I like it when it still has a little bite to it.
  9. Meanwhile prepare plain boiled white basmati rice. 
  10. When the squash is just about ready add the prawns.  If using fresh ones ensure that they turn from grey to pink.
  11. Check the seasoning you may want to add some crushed black pepper.  I didn't any salt at all because the Thai Nam Pla fish sauce is very salty.
  12. Add a little more fresh chopped parsley and serve with the boiled rice.

For me this is ultimate comfort food.   I was a little worried that this dish might be too sweet as both the squash and the prawn meat are, but the creamy salty sauce with a good kick of chilli and then the lovely fresh lemon grass, really balanced it very well.   Mmm...delicious...the stuff that dreams are made of... 


  1. I used to have lots of wild dreams like this featuring famous people but not for a long time unfortunately. Thanks for sharing the dream and the recipe!

  2. Your welcome Caz...I usually can't remember my dreams I think it's because I woke mid-dream...