Here, tender chicken and squash are enhanced with rich, fragrant coconut milk, red curry paste, lemon grass and Belgian ale. This curry makes an easy dinner when served over jasmine rice, but it’s also a tasty way to spice up a holiday spread. Be sure to use full-fat coconut milk for the best flavour and to ensure the curry will thicken well.
1 1/2 tbsp (22.5 mL) olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp (22.5 mL) lemon grass paste or minced lemon grass (root end and outer layers removed)
1 tbsp (15 mL) minced or grated ginger (fresh or from a jar)
3 tbsp (45 mL) Thai red curry paste
3/4 cup (180 mL) Belgian ale
454 g boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut in 1-inch cubes
1 small butternut squash (about 900 g), peeled, seeded and cut in 1-inch cubes
Cooked rice, cilantro leaves and toasted chopped peanuts or cashews (optional)
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, translucent and slightly golden at edges, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, lemon grass and ginger; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add curry paste and cook, stirring constantly to prevent burning, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
Pour in ale and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Boil, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, 3 to 4 minutes.
Increase heat to medium-high and add chicken. Cook, stirring often, until chicken turns white, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in squash, coconut milk, brown sugar and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender and chicken is no longer pink inside, about 20 minutes.
Stir in spinach and cook until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in lime juice and season to taste with more salt, sugar and/or lime juice, if desired.
Serve over cooked rice, and garnish with cilantro leaves and peanuts (if using).
Look for tubes or jars of lemon grass paste in the produce section of your local supermarket (they’re so convenient and save lots of chopping). You can also buy frozen minced lemon grass in Asian supermarkets. Thai red curry paste is easy to find in the Asian ingredients section of the grocery store.