Shrimp, Pineapple and Butternut Squash Curry is a fast and delicious one pot dish, making it perfect for a weeknight dinner! Affiliate links have been used to link to items I am discussing in this post.
Guys I love chocolate, more than you can imagine even, but I am so relieved to see something so wonderfully savory on my site again! So much baking and so many sweets! Sometimes I think working in a bakery would be a great diet plan for me, because the one time I do get sick of sugar is when I spend too much time baking.
I am excited to tell you about this Shrimp, Pineapple and Butternut Squash Curry, but first a funny story about the origins of the dish. I am a huge Nigella Lawson fan. I want to write about food the way that she writes about food. I admire her writing tremendously, and I also love her attitude toward food and cooking. So I was, in all honesty, dismayed when she released Nigella Express: 130 Recipes for Good Food, Fast. Previously, her books went onto my wish list sight unseen, but the idea of a 30 minute version (in fairness she says nothing about 30 minutes anywhere) of Nigella seemed like a betrayal of everything I loved about her attitude towards food. Being relaxed, not rushed, taking your time to enjoy the process. Etcetera. So I stubbornly refused to buy it.
Then I was at Half Price Books (long time readers know where this is going! Such a weakness, used bookstores!), where I saw Nigella Express for the sort of price that I figured justified buying it just to browse though it if nothing else. And less than 24 hours later dinner was bubbling away, inspired by that very purchase.
Mea culpa! I should have known that she completely recognized the irony of her releasing a book about fast food, and addresses this very topic. And indeed she addresses it in terms that I related to, because although I prefer long, relaxed processes resulting in dishes with complex layers, I too have a repertoire of dishes that I consider “weeknight” meals, long on flavor but short on prep time. And for goodness sake, I didn’t get past page 15 before I was contemplating substitutions and pulling out a pot and ingredients! So. Lesson learned.
And a word about the Shrimp, Pineapple and Butternut Squash Curry itself. I never want anyone to feel that because I believe in staying authentic to a dish’s roots that I don’t believe in playing with dishes and streamlining processes. You will see dishes here using homemade curry paste, without a doubt, and I would be one happy camper if I could convince a lot of you to try making it yourself. But that does not mean there is no room for commercially prepared curry paste. It just means that unless you have the heat tolerance of a native Thai, you need to be realistic about what you are creating and name it accordingly, because there is no way you can use the appropriate quantity of commercial curry paste to make an authentic Thai curry. Compensations need to be made for this fact. For example, I often add extra spices to amp up the flavor–such as my use of curry powder in this dish.
Usually I add palm sugar to a Thai curry and often I will add brown sugar or jaggery to an Indian curry, but between the pineapple juice in this dish and then the actual pineapple and butternut squash chunks, it is more than sweet enough. I used basil from my purple basil plant on my windowsill, but ideally I would have used a tad more. I have had trouble getting my windowsill plants to be super productive this year. My Italian basil and the thyme flat out failed. The rosemary is ok and the purple basil is doing just well enough that I have it if I need it, but not a lot of it. Use whatever you can get.
- 1-2 T extra virgin coconut oil
- 2 T Thai red curry paste, commercial is fine
- 1 T minced garlic
- 1 medium-large onion, thickly sliced
- 1 t curry powder
- 1 20-oz can of pineapple chunks in juice, do not discard the juice, (pineapple tidbits are fine too)
- 1 15-oz can coconut milk
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1-3 T fish sauce, to taste
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (can also use equivalent sweet potatoes)
- 1 lb frozen peeled shrimp--I prefer medium sized with tails attached
- juice of 1/2 lime or lemon
- 1 small handful basil for garnish (Thai or purple basil preferred)
- jasmine rice for serving
Melt the coconut oil in a large, heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the curry paste and stir it into the oil. Continue stirring and fry the paste until the oil starts to separate and it becomes quite fragrant (just a few minutes).
Add the garlic and onion and mix in thoroughly. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Stir in the curry powder and cook, continuing to stir, for 1 minute.
Pour in the pineapple juice (not the chunks). Stir and scrape to deglaze the pot. Let boil down for 3-4 minutes.
Add the coconut milk, chicken stock, and one tablespoon of the fish sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
When it is boiling, add the butternut squash. Bring back to a boil, and then cover, reducing the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Let cook for 15 minutes.
Rinse the frozen shrimp to remove excess ice.
When the 15 minutes is up,make sure the butternut squash is nearly tender, and add the pineapple chunks and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp. Stir to break up any frozen pieces sticking together. Let cook for 1-3 minutes (depending on how frozen your shrimp are--do not let them overcook, when they curl and turn pink, turn off the heat).
Add the lime juice and taste for more fish sauce. Mix in the basil leaves, reserving a few pieces for a pretty garnish on individual plates if desired.
Serve over jasmine rice--the dish will be soupy.
For the collage fans: