An easy and flavourful meal that’s not too spicy!
Toasted cashews provide amazing texture and flavour in this simple, creamy curry sauce. Many people think of curry dishes as always being very hot, but Thai curry paste actually comes in varying intensities and this dish is an ideal one to be made with mild curry paste, making it delicious but not too spicy. While it’s already pretty easy to make, to speed things up, you can cube the chicken so it will cook faster. Also note that the cashew curry sauce can be prepared up to 48 hours ahead of time. I have recently become a big fan of Thai Hom Mali (also known as Thai Jasmine rice) and find it’s an ideal accompaniment for dishes like this. Basmati rice would be a good (though slightly less flavourful) alternative. If you prefer, you can substitute a cubed block of extra-firm tofu for the chicken (following the same instructions but reducing the cooking time) or 24 large, peeled shrimp (omit the searing step – just add the shrimp to the sautéed onions and squash along with the sauce and broth; cook just until both squash and shrimp are tender).
- 1 cup (150 g) roasted, salted cashews, divided
- 1/3 cup (90 mL) plain yogurt (regular or lactose-free)
- 1/4 cup (5 g) roughly chopped cilantro
- 1 tbsp (7 g) chopped fresh peeled ginger root
- 1 tbsp (15 g) mild Thai curry paste, or more (to taste)
- 1 tbsp (13 g) light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp (2.8 g) each salt and fresh cracked pepper
- 2 – 3 tbsp (30 – 45 mL) canola oil, divided
- 1/2 cup (26 g) chopped onion
- 1 cup (140 g) peeled, diced butternut squash
- 2 lbs (1 kg) boneless chicken thighs (8 pieces) or 24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups (75 g) chopped spinach
- 2 cups (375 g) Thai Jasmine rice, cooked, to serve
- Fresh lime wedges, to serve
- Cilantro leaves, to garnish
- In a food processor or powerful blender, pulse 3/4 cup (115 g) of the cashews until finely chopped. Add yogurt, cilantro, ginger root, curry paste, brown sugar, salt and pepper and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Refrigerate if not using within the hour.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches if needed, sear chicken thighs until very browned, about 4 minutes per side, adding a bit of oil as needed for subsequent batches. Remove to a clean plate.
- Reduce heat to medium and add remaining oil. Add onions and squash and cook, stirring often until onions are translucent and squash is beginning to soften (but has not turned mushy).
- While onions and squash are cooking, rinse rice and cook according to package directions.
- Return the chicken to the pan and pour the sauce from the blender over top, scraping the work bowl or blender clean. Add the chicken broth then gently stir the sauce into the chicken, onion and squash mixture so it is evenly distributed. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until chicken is thoroughly cooked (internal temperature of 165F), about 10 – 15 minutes.
- Stir in chopped spinach then remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes so spinach will wilt and flavours will blend. While it sits, chop the remaining 1/4 cup (35 g) cashews to use as a garnish.
- Divide hot rice among 4 – 6 serving dishes then add hot curry mixture on top. Garnish with chopped cashews and cilantro; serve with a wedge of lime.
Serves 4 – 6.