Thai Shrimp Curry with Summer Squash + Homemade Thai Curry Paste

07 - July5

I think we have a few breakthroughs with this one.

1. This was the first Thai dish I’ve made at home that really tastes authentic. And by authentic, I mean what you would get at a Thai restaurant in the US. (Like most ethnic food, it probably pales in comparison to eating it in its homeland.) I will stand by this until I take a trip to Thailand. Sometime in my 60s.

2. This recipe was adapted from a couple of recipes in Vegetable Harvest by Patricia Wells. Her Thai curry paste is outstanding, and because I grind my own curry powder, I already had all of the spices in my pantry. I think Ms. Wells may be my new vegetable-centric cookbook writer crush. (Sorry, Andrea.)

3. After a few bites of this my oldest said, “Mommy, I want you to make this again!” I can count on one hand how many times she has said this with complete spontaneity. I wanted to hug her. And high-five my husband. And dance around the kitchen table.

4. This recipe has made me a convert to Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate. (This isn’t a sponsored post, I promise.) It’s like…coconut milk concentrate. And it’s really good. REALLY good.

This is such a versatile and easy recipe. Don’t like squash? Swap it out for something else. Does shrimp make you cringe? Throw in some chicken instead. Yes, there is a fair amount of chopping, but it comes together really easily and would be a great low-stress meal to serve some guests.

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Thai Shrimp Curry with Summer Squash


For the dish:
2 T neutral-flavored oil, like grapeseed
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 large onion, peeled and chopped.
1/2 tsp salt
2 Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed, and chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 medium zucchini, chopped
2 medium yellow squash, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 cups seafood, vegetable, or chicken broth
1 cup coconut milk or 2/3 cup coconut cream concentrate(see note)
1 lb uncooked medium shrimp, peeled with tails on
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
2-3 T Thai curry paste (recipe below)
1 cup cashews (toasting optional)

For the homemade curry paste:
2 tsp whole coriander seeds
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp whole fennel seeds
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1/2 cup tightly packed cilantro leaves
Two 1/4-inch slices fresh ginger, peeled
1/4 tsp finely ground dried red chili peppers
1 large shallot, peeled and chopped
4 plump garlic cloves, peeled & halved
Grated zest from 2 limes
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/3 neutral-flavored oil, like grapeseed


To prepare the dish:
In a large, heavy skillet or pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the ginger, onion and salt to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes. Onions should be translucent and soft, but not brown. Add all of the vegetables and the chicken broth (the next 7 ingredients). Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, until potatoes and carrots are fork tender.

Meanwhile, pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat until it is reduced by about half. (See note)

When the vegetables are done, add the reduced coconut milk, shrimp, lime juice, cilantro, and curry paste to the skillet. Stir to combine and cook another 5 minutes over medium heat until shrimp are pink and no longer translucent. Taste and adjust the seasonings (salt & curry paste) to suit your taste.

Serve with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro and a handful of cashews.

Serves 6-8.

Nat's Notes:
1. I recently started using Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate, which is a condensed version of coconut milk and can be reduced and used as coconut milk in recipes.
2. This curry can be served over hot rice, but we liked it plain like a stew.
3. If you don't want to make the curry paste from scratch, just substitute store-bought curry paste. You can sometimes find this in the ethnic section of your grocery store.

To prepare the curry paste:
Combine the coriander, cumin, fennel, and peppercorns in a small dry skillet. Toast over medium heat for a couple of minutes, shaking the pan often, until fragrant. Remove from heat and let them cool for several minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder or coffee mill and grind to a fine powder.

In a blender or a food processor, combine the cilantro, ginger, peppers, shallots, garlic, lime zest, salt and nutmeg until very finely chopped. Add the toasted spices and while the machine is running, slowly drizzle in the oil. Cover and chill until ready to use. Paste will keep, covered and chilled, for up to one week.

Nat's Notes:
1. If you have access to lemongrass, you can substitute 1 stalk for one of the limes. Chop the bottom third and add it to the recipe where the lime zest is used in the recipe.
2. The original recipe called for 1 whole tablespoon of ground chili peppers. That's way too spicy for the little mouths I feed, so I played it safe with just over a pinch.

inspired by a recipe in Vegetable Harvest by Patricia Wells

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19 Responses to “Thai Shrimp Curry with Summer Squash + Homemade Thai Curry Paste”

  1. #
    Bev Weidner — July 29, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

    Good GRIEF Natalie – my jaw just slid off my face in a river of drool.

    in. love.


  2. #
    Christina — July 29, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

    I love the idea of making my own curry paste. I use the Deborah Madison recipe in the Greens Cookbook and it's pretty good, but I'm intrigued by your wet curry…can't wait :)


  3. #
    Natalie — July 29, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

    Bev – You crack me up! (That's about how I felt after the first few bites. It really is that good.)

    Christina – I love Deborah Madison. I have a veggie crush on her, too. Is her recipe all dry spices, then?


  4. #
    Joanne — July 29, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

    I'm a sucker for anything Thai. A.NY.THING. But curry is my big favorite. I love that you made the curry paste from scratch!


  5. #
    Ann — July 30, 2011 @ 3:42 am

    Oh – FABULOUS! I love it! I am crazy about curry, but can't eat commercial curries because of cinnamon and allspice allergies. So I also blend my own. This dish looks outstanding!


  6. #
    Natalie — July 30, 2011 @ 4:03 am

    Joanne – I'm glad I finally caved and did it without the lemongrass. I'd held back for so long because I could never get my hands on some. It's good even without! (But I intend on growing some next year…)

    Ann – Cinnamon and allspice allergies!? That must be rough as far as commercial sauces and baked goods go. If you make your own curry you probably already have all of these spices! :)


  7. #
    Jolene - EverydayFoodie — July 30, 2011 @ 8:22 pm

    I loooooooooove curry!!! This looks like a great recipe.


  8. #
    Maria — July 30, 2011 @ 9:16 pm

    Great recipe to use up the summer squash!


  9. #
    Terri @ that's some good cookin' — July 30, 2011 @ 9:55 pm

    This looks so delicious; and what a great way to use some of that summer squash that is waiting for attention. Thai…curry…coconut milk…shrimp…cilantro…good mercy, I'm in trouble.


  10. #
    marla {Family Fresh Cooking} — July 31, 2011 @ 1:14 am

    Such a vibrant and beautiful meal. We love Thai food over here, but I would much rather make it at home. I have read lots about that coconut cream concentrate and now I MUST get my hands on some.


  11. #
    Healthy Mamma — August 1, 2011 @ 12:08 am

    Oh I just love Thai food. I just started making it at home not long ago once I figured out that I could. ;) So this isn't to spicy for the kiddos? I guess I could adjust the heat. I love spicy.
    I'll def have to look into that coconut milk and the cookbook!


  12. #
    abby — August 27, 2011 @ 12:59 am

    Wow…just made this tonight and it was fabulous! I am always a little scared of curry, but this was just the right amount. I didn't make my own curry paste, maybe next time! I love the blog and cook at least one-two recipes off here a week! Keep the good food rollin…my husband is loving it!


  13. #
    Natalie — August 27, 2011 @ 1:04 am

    abby – I'm so glad you came back to tell me! This was one of those recipes where I was thinking, "Wow, this has a lot of prep work. I wonder if anyone will even make it?" I'm so glad you tried it, too! It's probably my most favorite curry to date. Glad I'm helping to keep your husband happy!


  14. #
    Stephanie and Matt — November 7, 2011 @ 2:17 am

    Natalie, I LOVE this recipe! I had to post because I've made it several times now and my hubby and I both really enjoy it for dinner and leftovers the next day.

    I also wanted to mention that the curry paste freezes really well. I dropped tablespoon portions into a silicone ice cube mold and just popped them out into a Ziploc bag when they were frozen. Works great to just throw the frozen chunks into the mix in the last 5 minutes of cooking!


  15. #
    John Huntsman — December 16, 2011 @ 1:08 am

    Looks delicious. I like the Thai curry paste recipe. I must try this with a rice meal.
    thailand villas


  16. #
    Shelby — June 3, 2012 @ 9:15 am

    I’m confused on what kind of curry this is. Is this a green curry? Typically only yellow curry has potatoes, but I can’t really tell the color of the curry based on the pictures. I’m a green curry addict but not a big fan of yellow, which I why I ask!!


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