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Thai Red Curry Chicken with Winter Squash Recipe

by Jeanette on December 5, 2013 · 22 Comments
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If you like Thai food, you’ll love this Thai Red Curry Chicken with Winter Squash. It’s homemade “takeout” at its best.
Thai Red Curry Chicken with Winter Squash © Jeanette's Healthy Living

Although I love food from all different Asian cuisines, Thai food has always intrigued me, particularly all the different curry pastes. If you ever visit an Asian supermarket, you’ll find all different Thai curry pastes – green curry, red curry, yellow curry, masaman curry, and panang curry to name the most common.

Thai Red Curry Chicken with Winter Squash © Jeanette's Healthy Living

Growing up, the only curry I knew of was madras Indian curry powder. I never realized that there were so many different curries – Vietnamese curry, Jamaican curry, and Thai curry. In fact, I used to think there was just one curry recipe. Little did I know that curry was a combination of various spices that could be completely different depending on the country or origin or even the household making the curry.

Thai Red Curry Chicken with Winter Squash © Jeanette's Healthy Living

My fascination with Thai curry started a number of years ago when I tasted my first red curry dish at a Thai restaurant. I expected an Indian curry flavor and was puzzled when the curry dish arrived on our table – the flavor was totally unexpected – fiery in spice and color, mellowed by coconut milk. I fell in love with this style of curry and wanted to learn how to make it at home for my family. As it turns out, making Thai curry at home is really very easy if you use the ready-made Thai curry pastes that are readily available at Asian markets and also in supermarkets these days.

Thai Red Curry Chicken with Winter Squash © Jeanette's Healthy Living

I made this Thai Red Curry with Chicken and Winter Squash using butternut squash. Acorn squash, kabocha squash or pumpkin would work well too. The butternut squash almost melted away in this curry dish.

Thai curry pastes contain lots of aromatics – chilies, lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves. There’s a lot of punch in even a small spoonful of Thai curry. A little goes a long way, so if you’re new to Thai red curry, start off slow and add more if you like it spicy.

Today, I’m participating in Food Network’s Fall Fest where Winter Squash is being featured. Please be sure to hop over to my fellow foodie friends’ posts to see what they made this week:
Feed Me Phoebe: Baked Acorn Squash with Maple-Siracha Glaze
The Lemon Bowl: Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Winter Squash
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Provencal Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash & Chickpeas
Weelicious: Cinnamon Roast Butternut Squash
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Creamy Squash Rigatoni
Blue Apron Blog: Acorn Squash Tempura Tacos
Taste With The Eyes: A Hearty Tomato Soup with Sausage and Spaghetti Squash
Devour: Winter Squash Macaroni and Cheese
Dishin & Dishes: Roasted Acorn Squash Crescents with Sage Pecan Pesto
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Pumpkin & Apple Slices with Maple Syrup
Red or Green: Butternut Squash Salad with Kale, Cranberries and Cayenne
Virtually Homemade: Spaghetti Squash Lasagna with Basil Walnut Pesto
Domesticate Me: Chipotle Pork Tenderloin and Butternut Squash Tacos
Daily*Dishin: Kahlua Baked Acorn Squash
FN Dish: Comforting Winter Squash Sides

Red Curry Chicken with Winter Squash

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 4

Lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves can be found at Asian supermarkets. If you can't find it, substitute a teaspoon of lime zest, although the flavor won't be the same.


  • 1 can coconut milk, divided
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bottom third trimmed and smashed
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 small winter squash, cut into 1" chunks


  1. Heat 1/2 cup coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until it bubbles and thickens; add red curry paste and cook for another minute or two, mixing it in well with the coconut milk. Add rest of coconut milk, fish sauce, chicken broth, sugar, lemongrass, lime leaves, chicken and squash. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook until chicken is cooked through and squash is tender, about 25 minutes.


Adapted from Thai Cooking Made Easy.


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  1. This curry chicken looks wonderful Jeanette! I love Thai curry, it’s so comforting especially during the cooler months. This sounds perfect for the season with the addition of winter squash. Pinning, thanks for sharing:)

    • Thanks Kelly – I love Thai curry and it’s so easy to make at home, and yes, very warming for the cold winter months.

  2. Squash and curry go together nicely! And I agree that butternut squash will melt away if it’s simmered for a long time, but it’s so convenient since it’s often sold already peeled and cubed. And suggestions for how to best use a sturdier squash?

    • Squash and curry do going together well. I think kabocha squash might hold up better than butternut squash although I have to say I didn’t mind the butternut squash melting into the sauce at all. My kids are not big winter squash fans, so what they can’t see can’t hurt them ;).

  3. Love curry, love squash, love chicken. I think this is a total winner! Your food photography is gorgeous! I love it.

    • Thanks Davida – I agree…curry, winter squash and chicken go together really well. Thanks for your sweet comments!

  4. Thank you, Jeanette.

  5. Perfect for cold weather and so flavorful. I really love adding squash to curry and this one sounds awesome!

  6. I make a thai curry with winter squash at least once a fall…it’s just so good!! I’ll have to try your recipe this year!

    • Winter squash and Thai curries go together so well don’t they. I think the sweetness of the winter squash and coconut milk compliment the spiciness of the curry paste really well.

  7. This curry looks utterly scrumptious! I’d love a big bowl of it right now, it’s so cold here! ;)
    Have a nice weekend :D

  8. Great combinations of flavor and ingredients. Perfect for the season.

    • Thanks Lail – glad you like Thai curry, it’s so easy to make at home and I agree, perfect for this time of year.

  9. We love curries, and this looks like a perfect winter one to try as we hunker down and try to stay warm.

  10. Hi, Jeanette,
    I often make squash-curry soups this time of you. Like you, I adore the flavors of Thailand – and delicious squash when in season. I love how you mention the butternut squash melts away into blissful submission… It sounds just decadent yet salubrious. Coconut milk, lemongrass and red curry paste – you really have a great base to start with; wonderful. I see that you also have a recent recipe for a nice, warm lentil soup. Sometimes, I like to combine a Thai-based squash soup and add cooked lentils – and then purée the finished produce for a velvety texture. Thank you for sharing,
    Best regards,

  11. *year, not you. OOPS. ;-)

  12. Well, growing up I only knew Japanese curry and I thought curry was Japanese food until I go to school and learn about Indian and Thai curry…. Among all Asian food, I also like Thai food a lot and it’s really funny as I can’t handle spice as much. I can only eat limited curry (that’s not too spicy) but I think something about Thai dish that attracts me most. Palm sugar, fish sauce, lemongrass.. they are all my favorite ingredients and I have to go to Asian market to make this!

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