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Thai-Style Squash and Tofu Curry

Recipe: Thai-Style Kabocha Squash and Tofu Curry

Summary: Kabocha absorbs the coconut curry for a creamy, hearty, soul-satisfying dinner created by Joe Yonan in “Eat Your Vegetables.”


  • 1 medium (2-pound) kabocha squash (I used acorn squash)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallot lobes, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • ½-1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
  • ½ cup vegetable broth or water
  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk
  • ½ cup Marinated and Baked Tofu (recipe below)
  • Sea salt
  • 4 large basil leaves, stacked, rolled, and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup warm cooked brown rice or other grain
  • 2 tablespoons bean sprouts (optional)


  1. Peel the squash, remove the stem, cut it in half, and scoop out the seeds. Cut one of the halves in half again, and use that for this dish, reserving the rest for another use.
  2. Pour the oil into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add the shallot, ginger, and curry paste and cook, stirring, for just a minute or so. Stir in the broth and coconut milk and bring to a boil, then lower the heat until the liquid is barely bubbling around the edges. Add the squash and tofu pieces, cover, and cook until the squash is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and add salt as needed.
  3. Stir in the basil leaves, spoon the mixture over rice, top with bean sprouts, and eat.
  4. Serves 1.

Advice from JoeJoe Yonan [1]

If you can’t find kabocha, buttercup and acorn are decent substitutes.


Joe Yonan says he recreated this beautiful winter squash curry dish from Thai Crossing in Washington’s LeDroit Park neighborhood. Reprinted with permission from “Eat Your Vegetables” by Joe Yonan, copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Food Photography credit: Matt Armendariz © 2013.  Disclosure: Ten Speed Press sent the book for review.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Diet type: Vegetarian, vegan
Number of servings (yield): 1
Culinary tradition: Thai

Marinated and Baked Tofu

2 pounds firm of extra-firm tofu, drained
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine or sherry
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated or thinly sliced
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon Sriracha or your favorite Asian hot chile paste
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons sea salt

Wrap drained tofu in paper towels, place on a plate, place a second plate on top of the tofu and put a large unopened can of tomatoes or beans on top; let tofu exude liquid for 30 minutes. Unwrap tofu and pat it dry. Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes.

In a gallon-sized plastic ziplock bag, combine sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine, vinegar, garlic, ginger, water and Sriracha. Massage the bag to combine ingredients. Add tofu cubes and gently toss to combine, then seal the bag. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight, turning the bag over a couple of times.

Heat oven to 350F degrees. Drain tofu and transfer to a large bowl. Use a fine-mesh strainer to sprinkle the cornstarch onto the tofu a little at a time, gently turning the tofu in the bowl to coat it between each addition.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and transfer tofu to baking sheet. Bake tofu until it is crisp and lightly browned, turning it every 15 minutes or so, for about 45 minutes total. Serve or eat some or all of the tofu immediately either on its own or in a recipe, or cool and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Makes about 4 cups.