Butternut, peanut, pea and spinach coconut curry with cashew salad

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Preparation info

  • Serves


    as a main course
    • Difficulty


Appears in

Vegetables: The new food heroes


By Peter Gordon

Published 2007

  • About

For this recipe, I used a commercially made Thai green curry paste and also added some green bird’s-eye Thai chillies. The heat was high, but the sweetness of the coconut milk and butternut squash offset it. If you prefer your curries milder, then just add less of the spicy stuff. Serve it with plain rice.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large white onion, sliced
  • tablespoons Thai green curry paste
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 handfuls of skinless roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon grass stalk
  • 400 ml unsweetened coconut milk
  • 600 ml hot water
  • 2 green bird’s-eye chillies, sliced
  • 600 g butternut squash, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (or use salt to taste)
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh or frozen peas
  • 250 g small-leaf spinach (or use large-leaf and roughly chop it)

For the Cashew Salad

  • large handful of toasted cashews, roughly chopped
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • handful of coriander, roughly chopped


In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil and sauté the onion until it is just beginning to caramelize. Add the curry paste and garlic, and fry for a minute, stirring often. Then add the peanuts and fry for another minute, again stirring well to prevent the mixture sticking.

Meanwhile, remove the base and the 3 hard outermost layers of the lemon grass stalk and thinly slice the remaining stalk until it gets too woody, but reserve the woody stalk.

Add the coconut milk, hot water, chillies, lemon grass slices and the reserved stalk, and bring to the boil. Add the butternut squash and the fish sauce, then simmer rapidly until the squash is almost cooked through. Add the peas and cook for a further 3 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, then stir in the spinach and turn off the heat.

To make the cashew salad, simply mix the ingredients together.

To Serve

Divide the curry between bowls, scatter a little of the salad over the top and let people help themselves to more as they wish.