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thai red curry
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5 from 1 vote

Thai shrimp, pumpkin and spinach red curry

Succulent, juicy shrimp, in an aromatic sauce with tender and sweet pumpkin and spinach. This curry is packed with flavor, easy and and comes together in no time.
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine thai
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 660kcal
Author Aleksandra


red curry:

  • 1 (14-oz/400ml) can coconut milk
  • 1 ⅔ cup chicken/vegetable broth 400 ml
  • 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste or to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1- inch (3 cm) piece of ginger
  • 1 stalk lemongrass optional
  • 1.3 lbs butternut squash/pumpkin 600g (skinless, seedless), this is about 2 lbs/1kg whole butternut squash
  • 1 lb (450g) shrimp peeled and thawed
  • 2 large handfuls spinach 4.4 oz/125g, can be omitted
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste or less lime juice
  • 1- inch (3 cm) piece of palm sugar or light brown sugar

to serve:

  • 1 cup jasmin rice 180g
  • fresh coriander leaves


Prepare the ingredients:

  • Thaw the shrimp (just put them into a bowl with cold water for 10 mins).
  • Chop the ginger and garlic very finely or pulse them in the food processor with the curry paste until smooth (if it's too thick, add a little coconut milk to thin it out).
  • Bruise the thick part of lemongrass with a knife handle.
  • Peel the pumpkin/squash and cut into 1/2-inch (1.5 cm) cubes.

Cook the curry:

  • Open a can of coconut milk (do not shake with the can prior to opening it), a thick mass should be at the top (coconut cream), and thin liquid at the bottom (coconut water). Spoon out about 2/3 of the cream, add to a large pot, heat over medium heat until bubbling and oil begins to separate from the cream (if this is not happening, just continue with the recipe).
  • Add the red curry paste, garlic, ginger and lemongrass to the pot and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes or until fragrant.
  • Add the cubed pumpkin, cook for a minute.
  • Pour in the remaining coconut milk and broth, cook for another 10 minutes over medium-low heat, or until the pumpkin is tender (cooking time depends on the type of pumpkin and how big the pieces are, adjust accordingly).
  • Poach the shrimp: Set your heat to the minimum - the curry should be very hot and steaming, but it should not be boiling. Add shrimps to the pot, then take the pot off the heat. Leave for a couple of minutes (about 3 minutes), stirring from time to time (shrimps should be submerged in the broth). You can take one shrimp out and cut it in half to see if it's cooked through (it will be white/pink in the middle instead of grey/translucent).
  • Add the spinach and stir the curry until the leaves are wilted.
  • Season your curry: add finely crushed palm sugar, fish sauce and tamarind paste to taste. If the curry is not salty enough - add more fish sauce, not sour enough – tamarind paste, not sweet enough - more sugar.
  • Serve with rice and sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves.
  • Enjoy!


  • If you're making your red curry paste from scratch, omit the garlic, ginger, and lemongrass. Their job is to enhance the flavor of the store-bought curry paste.
  • Vegetables: you can use any vegetables you have on hand. It can be fresh or frozen. Instead of pumpkin/squash, sweet potato is a good substitute. Pumpkin cooking time may vary, depending on pumpkin/squash type and how big the pieces are.
  • Lemongrass: can be omitted. You can also use store-bought jarred lemongrass paste.
  • Instead of shrimp, I would add chicken breast (poached in hot broth like shrimp or pan-fried) or any other protein source that you like: chicken thighs, steak, tofu.
  • If your curry has split (red oil droplets are floating on the top), this is how an authentic curry should look like.
  • How to cook Jasmine rice: The rice to water ratio is 1:1. Rinse the rice, cook it with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil (or vegetable oil) in a medium pot. Add the cold water and 3/4 ts of salt, bring to a boil, cover with a lid, cook over very low heat for 15 minutes (don't stir during cooking). Take off the heat, leave to rest for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and enjoy.
  • Spinach leaves: if you're using big and older spinach leaves (and not baby spinach), cook them for 1 minute or until the leaves are wilted, before adding the shrimp.
  • Calories count = 1/4 of the recipe, including rice. This is only an estimate!


Calories: 660kcal