I often serve this to guests, because I have yet to meet a person that doesn’t like it. You can serve it with regular rice, but if you are able to find a thai rice steamer and thai sweet/glutinous rice, cooking it like this makes the best, firm, dry-ish sticky rice. It’s a totally different thing than Japanese sticky rice.
This serves 6 people very generously – often more if you buy a really big squash.
Adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone:
-2-3 medium leeks, white parts only
-2.5 tb peanut oil (the roasted, unrefined kind is awesome in this, but I often go without it)
-4 garlic cloves, chopped
-2 hot chiles, or a bunch of jarred jalapenos, minced
-2 tb minced ginger
-1.5 tb curry powder
-1 heaping tsp brown sugar
-5 tb soy sauce or more to taste
-1 15-oz can of coconut milk
-1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
-1 package firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
-juice from a large lime
-1/3 cup raw peanuts
-1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Put the tofu in a large baking pan with 1/2 tb oil and 1 tb soy sauce, and toss. Then put in the oven until golden, with a sort of chewyish, crispyish crust on each piece – it should take a little under an hour, and it can cook while you do everything else.
2. Halve the leeks length-wise and then dice into 1/4-inch pieces. Wash them VERY well in a bowl of water and drain. They can be really dirty, leaving grit in the food if you aren’t careful.
3. In a large pot, heat up the rest of the oil on med-high heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring, until partially softened (a bit under 5 min). Add the garlic, chiles, and ginger, and cook for a minute. Then add the curry powder, sugar, and soy sauce. Reduce the heat to medium, scrape the pan, and cook a few minutes more.
4. Add 3.5 cups of water, the coconut milk, squash, and a tsp of salt. If the solids aren’t submerged, add more water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, for at least 15 minutes. When the squash is almost tender, add the tofu and simmer until the squash is fully tender. Taste for salt or extra soy sauce and add the lime juice.
5. While everything else cooks, put a few drops of peanut oil in a pan over medium heat and then brown the peanuts. Once they are cool enough to handle, chop them.
6. If you are using regular rice, serve the stew over the rice. If you are using the thai sticky rice, serve the rice separately. Scatter peanuts, cilantro, and extra chiles, if desired, over the top of the stew.
I’ll post something soon on a traditional Thai dessert that is a great use of leftover rice…