This week’s CSA shares include Thai Basil – a key ingredient in, you guessed it, Thai food. We’ve started harvesting some of the crops in our high tunnels like summer squash and Japanese eggplant which are perfect for this quickly simmered curry. You can swap out ingredients easily in this recipe based on your CSA share contents. Bell peppers, turnips, winter squash, and radish would all be great in place of the other vegetables. At the end of the recipe I’ve included variations to add protein like chicken, shrimp, or tofu. Once the ingredients are assembled this dish will come together very quickly. Curry is best served over white or brown rice, so get the rice started first, then start chopping.
Asian cooking ingredients are becoming more and more common in grocery stores. Fish sauce, curry paste, and coconut milk are generally easy to find in the Asian aisle of the grocery store, or look for an Asian grocer. There are several varieties of curry paste available, and this recipe will work with green or panang. Red curry paste is very common in little glass jars at most stores. In my opinion the larger tubs from Asian groceries have a lot more flavor, so I seek those out. They tend to be much spicier, so add a little bit at a time. You can always add more! Start the onions over medium heat in canola oil, when they are softened add a splash more oil, and the curry paste stirring to combine. Then add the coconut milk, sugar, fish sauce (sub tamari for a vegan dish), and stir to combine the milk with the curry paste. Add the vegetables and simmer the dish uncovered until the vegetables are tender.
While the curry is simmering separate the basil leaves from the stems, reserving some of the flowers for garnish.
Summer Squash Curry
1 summer squash, sliced
1 medium asian eggplant, sliced (or 1 cup other vegetable of your choice, sliced)
2 spring onions, tops removed, or 1 large onion, quartered and separated
1 can coconut milk, shaken
1/2 cup water
1/2 – 1 tablespoon red curry paste (or more depending on your preference)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (or tamari)
1/2 cup thai basil leaves
thai basil flowers for garnish (optional)
Heat canola oil over medium heat. Add onions, cook until softened about 4 minutes. Push onions to the side of the pan, add another tablespoon oil and then add the curry paste directly into the oil. Mix to combine with onions, curry paste should be fragrant. Add coconut milk and water, sugar, and fish sauce or tamari. Stir to combine. Add vegetables to the pan and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat, add basil leaves, and taste. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve over rice garnished with basil flowers.
Variations. Add bite size pieces of chicken with vegetables, simmer until chicken and vegetables are cooked through. Add shrimp with the vegetables, simmer until shrimp is pink and vegetables are tender. For tofu, pan fry in oil, then reserve the tofu and add when cooking is complete.