| | | | |

Thai Kabocha Squash Curry Recipe

This post may contain links to affiliate websites, such as Amazon, and I receive an affiliate commission for any purchases made by you using these links. I appreciate your support!

This Thai kabocha squash curry recipe is a creamy dish that’s perfect for every home cook. It’s a perfect mix of sweet and spicy thanks to coconut milk and homemade red curry paste. Serve it with jasmine rice to soak up all that yummy sauce.

Thai kabocha squash curry with chicken, served in a coconut shell.

My niece is the biggest pumpkin lover EVER. She can’t get enough of steamed pumpkin with a sprinkle of sugar to make it sweet.

I wanted to surprise her with something new and ordered kabocha squash. It’s not exactly a pumpkin, but it’s naturally sweet and looks similar. Upon arrival, they turned out to be the most adorable ones I had ever seen.

Thai girl holding kabocha squash.

In Thailand, eating spicy food starts young. My niece finished a big bowl of this spicy kabocha squash curry without shedding a single tear.

Some of her favorite Thai curries are bamboo shoot curry, gaeng massaman, and green curry pork.

What is kabocha squash curry

Kabocha squash curry is a Thai dish with a base of coconut milk infused with red curry paste. It balances sweet, savory, and spicy flavors and is typically served with jasmine rice.

What is kabocha

Kabocha, also referred to as Japanese pumpkin, is a type of winter squash with a sweet and nutty flavor and a smooth, creamy texture. Kabocha squash is typically used in Japanese cuisine for making soups, stew, and even desserts.

Just like pumpkin, kabocha squash is great for making Thai curry as it’s naturally sweet and a bit nutty. Simmered in the red coconut curry sauce, it becomes deliciously tender and creamy as it soaks up the flavors of the spicy curry sauce.

Thai chicken kabocha curry

Before you start making your Thai kabocha curry, let’s look at a few key steps to make sure it turns out great. I’ll guide you through each step, making sure it’s easy to follow with clear, step-by-step images.

We start this Thai curry by letting some of the coconut milk simmer down a bit. This brings out the coconut oil, adding fragrance and enhancing the overall flavors.

Then, we fry the curry paste with fish sauce and chicken. This technique is another special touch. Instead of just adding fish sauce to the curry, frying it first makes the curry exceptionally fragrant.

Close-up of Thai kabocha curry with chicken and vegetables.

The real secret to a great kabocha curry is slow-cooking, just like you’d make Thai massaman chicken curry. Kabocha squash needs time to get soft and release its natural sweetness. As it cooks, it’ll sweeten up the sauce over time.

It’s crucial to wait on adding sugar until after the kabocha is thoroughly cooked. Then, you can simply taste and see how much sugar you really need so you don’t end up with an overly sweet coconut curry sauce.

My last tip to your make your curry stand out is choosing chicken thighs. They’re ideal for slow cooking because they stay moist, unlike chicken breast. While chicken breast works well for fast-cooking dishes like gaeng daeng, it’s not the best for slow-cooked recipes like this one.

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Ingredients for Thai kabocha squash curry labeled: coconut milk, chicken thighs, palm sugar, fish sauce, red curry paste, kabocha, kaffir lime leaves, chili, sweet basil, and water.
  • Kabocha squash – Sweetens the curry naturally as it cooks slowly, there’s no need to peel it.
  • Red curry paste – My homemade Thai red curry paste is a mix of lemongrass, shrimp paste, and turmeric. Good store-bought alternatives are Mae Ploy and Maesri. You can also use this curry paste in my authentic Thai red curry and Thai mushroom curry.
  • Chicken thighs – Since this is a slow-cook curry, it’s important to use chicken thighs.
  • Palm sugar – Palm sugar is a common sweetener in Thai cuisine, with a caramel-like sweetness that’s distinct from white and brown sugar.
  • Fish sauce – Fish sauce adds a salty, umami depth to the curry that you can’t get from salt alone.
  • Kaffir lime leaves – Kaffir lime leaves add an irreplaceable citrusy fragrance and freshness.
  • Sweet basil – Brings a refreshing note that perfectly complements the kaffir lime leaves flavor.
  • Chilies – Prik chi fa chilies not only add a mild heat but also lots of chili flavor.
  • Coconut milk – Full-fat coconut milk makes the curry sauce rich in flavor.
  • Water – Water ensures the curry doesn’t become too thick while the squash cooks, as the squash will thicken the curry sauce while it’s cooking.

How to make kabocha squash Thai curry

Reduced coconut milk in a wok pan.

Step 1: Heat 2/3 of the coconut milk in a wok or pot over medium heat until the coconut oil begins to separate.

Fried red curry paste in a wok.

Step 2: Stir in the red curry paste and mix it well with the coconut milk.

Stir-fried chicken with red curry paste in a wok.

Step 3: Add the chicken and fish sauce, making sure the chicken is well coated with the paste.

Kabocha squash chicken fried in a wok.

Step 4: Put the kabocha squash in the wok and cook for 5 minutes.

Red curry chicken kabocha cooking in a wok.

Step 5: Pour in the rest of the coconut milk and add water.

Kabocha curry cooking in a wok.

Step 6: Cover and simmer on low heat for 15–20 minutes, depending on the size of your kabocha pieces.

Kabocha chicken curry cooking in a wok.

Step 7: Add chilies, kaffir lime leaves, and palm sugar to taste. Simmer for one more minute.

Thai kabocha curry ready in a wok.

Step 8: Turn off the heat, stir in the sweet basil, and serve with rice. Enjoy!

Kitchenware

  • Mortar and pestle or food processor for making homemade curry paste
  • Cutting board and sharp knife
  • Ladle for serving and stirring
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Large pot or Dutch oven

Kabocha chicken curry recipe tips

Thai pumpkin curry: The ingredients and cooking steps used in this recipe can also be used for making a pumpkin curry.

Simmer slowly: Simmered kabocha makes the curry richer and the squash perfectly soft.

Squash options: Butternut squash or any winter squash works great too.

Plant-based: Easily make this curry vegan by skipping the chicken and adding more of your favorite veggies. Swap the fish sauce for a vegan-friendly alternative like salt.

Vegetables: Feel free to toss in red bell peppers, bamboo shoots, and Thai eggplants.

Proteins: Avoid using lean meat for this slow-cook curry. You can use fatty pork or a cut of beef that’s suited for slow-cooking.

Red kabocha curry serving suggestions

Thai curries are typically served with a side of jasmine rice or rice vermicelli. In Southern Thai cuisine, a common side for curries is Thai roti. You can choose to serve your curry in a separate bowl or atop the rice in the same dish.

Kabocha pumpkin curry storage

Let your leftovers cool to room temperature and transfer it into airtight containers. It can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, so it’s great for meal prep and busy days.

Freezing: You can freeze your leftovers for up to 2 months. Place the cooler curry in freezer-safe containers or bags. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating

Reheating: Reheat on the stove top over medium heat until warm.

How to store kabocha squash

Keep whole Kabocha squash in a cool, dark place like a pantry. It lasts 1 to 3 months this way. If cut, wrap it up or put in a container, and keep in the fridge. Use the cut squash within a week to enjoy its best taste.

Frequently asked questions

Where to buy kabocha squash?

Kabocha squash can usually be found at your local grocery store, farmers’ markets, or Asian supermarkets in the produce section.

Can I make this with an instant pot?

Yes, Thai curries adapt well to an instant pot. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, this recipe can be gluten-free, as long as you ensure your red curry paste and fish sauce are gluten-free brands.

Authentic Thai curry recipes

Loved reading this Thai kabocha squash curry recipe? Please make my day by dropping a star rating and/or a comment below! Follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest.

Thai Kabocha Squash Curry Recipe

Thai kabocha squash curry with chicken served in a coconut shell.
Easy Thai kabocha squash curry recipe with step-by-step images. Serve with a portion of jasmine rice or vermicelli noodles.
Praew
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course
Serving Size 2 people

Ingredients

  • 14 ounces kabocha squash cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 7 ounces chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste see notes
  • 1 prik chi fa chili sliced, add to taste
  • 0.18 ounces sweet basil
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 tablespoon palm sugar see notes
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 10.1 fluid ounces coconut milk divided into 2/3 and 1/3 portions
  • 6.8 fluid ounces water

Instructions

  • Heat 2/3 of the coconut milk in a wok or pot over medium heat until the coconut oil begins to separate.
  • Stir in the red curry paste and mix it well with the coconut milk.
  • Add the chicken and fish sauce, making sure the chicken is well coated with the paste.
  • Put the kabocha squash in the wok and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Pour in the rest of the coconut milk and add water.
  • Cover and simmer on low heat for 15–20 minutes, depending on the size of your kabocha pieces.
  • Add chilies, kaffir lime leaves, and palm sugar to taste. Simmer for one more minute.
  • Turn off the heat, stir in the sweet basil, and serve with rice. Enjoy!

Notes

  • For the exact measurements, please scroll down to the recipe card at the end of this post.
  • Palm sugar - Because kabocha squash is naturally sweet, it's really important to wait to add your sugar to your curry until the kabocha is cooked through. Then, you can simply taste and see how much sugar you really need so you don't end up with an overly sweet curry sauce.
  • Red curry paste - Use my homemade Thai red curry paste or good store-bought alternatives like Mae Ploy and Maesri.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating