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Thai Red Curry Chicken
with squash / rice

Active: 40 min Total: 40 min
This spicy, savory Thai-style curry is loaded with colorful vegetables and tender bites of chicken. The curry has plenty of flavorful broth to be soaked up by the rice it's served with.
Smarts #1: Although we love kabocha squash (a hearty variety that is often used in Southeast Asian cuisine) in this curry, any type of squash will work well here.
Smarts #2: This recipe could be made in the Instant Pot. For tips, join the Cook Smarts Instant Pot Facebook Group.


Thai Red Curry Chicken:
  • Onions, medium - 1/2 , sliced
  • Bell peppers, any color - 1 , sliced
  • Squash, kabocha - 1 lb , cubed (sub butternut squash, acorn squash, or zucchini)
  • Red curry paste - 1 1/2 Tbsp (sub green or yellow)
  • Fish sauce - 1 1/2 Tbsp
  • Brown sugar - 2 tsp
  • Chicken thighs, boneless and skinless - 1 lb , cubed
  • Limes - 1 , wedges
  • Thai basil (opt) - 8 leaves , chiffonade
  • Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
  • Stock, any type - 1 cup
  • Coconut milk, light - 1 cup
White or Brown Rice:
  • Rice, uncooked white or brown - 1 cup


  1. Rice - For white rice, rinse until clear. Fill a saucepan or Dutch oven (or rice cooker) with rice, water (use 2:1 ratio for water to rice), and some salt. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Once water boils, stir, lower heat to a low-medium, and cover. Check white rice after ~20 min; brown at ~45 min. Rice is done when it's absorbed all the water. If it's not done, leave the cover on until all water has been absorbed. Take cover off to release steam and fluff with a wooden spoon after 5 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  2. Onions / Bell peppers / Squash - Prep as directed. Combine onions and bell peppers. Store squash separately. (Note: If using butternut squash, check out this video for how to peel and cube butternut squash. If using kabocha squash you can leave the peel on; the peel will soften as it cooks.) (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  3. Make soup base - Whisk together red curry paste, fish sauce, and brown sugar. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  4. Chicken - Cube chicken. Tenderize with a fork and season with some salt and pepper. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
  5. Limes / Basil (if using) - Prep as directed.

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  1. Heat a Dutch oven or wok over medium-high heat. Add oil and then onions and peppers. Saute until nearly soft, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Add chicken and saute to get it started cooking, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Fold in soup base and cook until fragrant, ~1 minute.
  4. Pour in stock, coconut milk, and squash. Stir everything to combine. (Don’t worry if the liquid doesn’t fully cover the vegetables.)
  5. Cover the pan and reduce heat so it stays at a low simmer. Cook, covered, until squash is tender, 8 to 12 minutes (depending on size and type of squash). (Note: Be careful that the curry doesn’t boil or the chicken could turn tough. Keep reducing heat as needed.)
  6. Taste and season with some more curry paste if you’d like it more spicy or some more fish sauce if you’d like it more savory / salty.
  7. If rice was made ahead, reheat in the microwave.
  8. Serve curry over rice with lime wedges on the side and basil on top. Enjoy!



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