Looking for the best homemade Thai Beef and Pumpkin Curry recipe?
We’ve traveled extensively through Thailand and eaten at all of the best Thai restaurants in Toronto. We’ve taken Thai cooking classes in Chang Mai and learned expert cooking techniques courtesy of the executive chef at JW Marriott Phuket Resort.
Cooking Thai food at home is quick and easy. Our flavourful Beef and Pumpkin Curry takes just under 2 hours to prepare and keeps in the fridge for several days. You’ll love loitering over these delicious creamy and spicy leftovers!
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Indian vs Thai Curry
The two countries that are most associated with curry are India and Thailand. Each nation prepares curry in a unique way. In general, the term refers to a savoury meat, seafood or vegetable dish cooked in a sauce that is accompanied by rice, flatbread or fresh salads.
In India, curry (or masala) encompasses a variety of dishes that use a complex combination of spices or herbs, usually including ground turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, and fresh or dried chilies. You’ll find unique regional takes on the Indian curry concept in neighbouring countries such as Pakistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and The Maldives.
Indian curries generally do not feature beef, as the cow is considered a sacred animal. The only region in India you are likely to find beef on a menu is in Kerala, which was colonized by the Portuguese and later by the Dutch. You can enjoy beef dishes in the colonial city of Cochin as well as luxury resorts like Coconut Lagoon.
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Types of Thai Curry
In Thailand, curry refers both to dishes in Thai cuisine that are made with various types of curry paste and to the pastes themselves. A Thai curry dish is made from curry paste, coconut milk, meat, seafood, vegetables and herbs.
Popular Thai curries include Green, Red, Yellow, Penang and Masaman. Most Thai curries are categorized by the colour of the curry paste. The colour of the chilies and other ingredients gives each curry its distinct hue. Traditionally, all Thai curries were made with the same ingredients except for one thing: the chilies. Usually green curry is the mildest, red is the hottest and yellow falls somewhere in between.
Masaman Curry uniquely influenced Thai cooking thanks to visiting Persian traders. Masaman is a broken translation for Muslim. It originated in the south of Thailand near the border of Malaysia and is a thick sauce with a mild, slightly sweet flavour. Massaman curry dishes distinguish themselves by the inclusion of several whole spices and peanuts.
Penang Curry is sweeter than its sister, spicy Thai Red Curry. It is named for the island of Penang off the west coast of Malaysia and is served sometimes topped with coconut cream.
Most Thai curry paste recipes are made with spicy chilies, garlic, ginger, galangal, lemongrass, shallot, fish sauce, shrimp paste, cane sugar, lime, spices and coconut milk.
The major components of our Beef and Pumpkin Curry are red curry paste, green beans, coconut milk, beef steak and butternut squash.
What Cut of Steak is Best for Beef and Pumpkin Curry?
Traditionally, Thai coconut curries are slowly stewed and simmered, allowing chefs to tenderize tougher cuts of meat in liquid.
Tough cuts of meat contain large amounts of collagen, which require long cooking times to break down into rich gelatin. That’s why tougher cuts of meat like the chuck or shoulder are generally used for Thai curries.
Short on time and looking for an easy and quick Beef and Pumpkin Curry recipe? We suggest visiting your butcher to purchase a high quality cut of Canadian beef. Ask for a cut like sirloin or ribeye and ensure it is well marbled so the steak in your curry will be juicy and tender.
Our recipe will save you time in the kitchen as you do not need to leave your Beef and Pumpkin Curry bubbling on the stove for many hours. Simply sear thinly sliced steak and let it rest before adding it to your reduced curry sauce before serving.
Beef and Pumpkin Curry Cooking Tips
If it’s your first time making a Beef and Pumpkin Curry here are a few cooking tips and substitutions you can use in the kitchen. If you’re planning to make a Thai curry feast and have time to plan in advance, you can easily break up the recipe process to give yourself more time the day of your dinner.
You can easily roast the pumpkin a day in advance and store in the fridge until required. If you don’t have a butternut squash on hand you can always use acorn or kobacha.
We suggest roasting the pumpkin as it caramelizes in the oven, transforming the flavour so it is rich and sweet. You can also boil or steam the pumpkin but the flavour will be more bland and texture will be soft rather than crunchy.
You can also sear your steak in advance. Make sure you only quickly sear to brown both sides of the beef so the centre is still raw. You can store the seared steak in the fridge until moments before you are ready to serve the curry to your guests.
Once the red coconut curry is simmering and reduced to your liking, simply add the cooled roasted pumpkin and seared steak to the sauce and allow to warm for 2-3 minutes.
If you have a vegan or vegetarian guest joining you for dinner you might want to share the recipe in advance so they can review the ingredients. You can easily separate some of the curry sauce and add grilled tofu or paneer instead of sirloin steak. You can also replace the beef stock with vegetable or mushroom broth.
What To Serve With Beef and Pumpkin Curry
If you’re planning a Thai themed dinner, our Beef and Pumpkin Curry offers a flavourful and rich main dish.
We suggest serving the curry in a large bowl at the table so guests can spoon their desired portion onto their plate, family-style. Garnish the top of the curry with a lime wedge, salted peanuts, finely sliced peppers and Thai basil.
This Beef and Pumpkin Curry recipe requires 1 1/2 cans of coconut milk. We suggest using the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut milk to prepare traditional Thai coconut rice. Top the rice with toasted shredded coconut to add colour to the bowl.
Popular side dishes for a Thai curry include spring rolls served with chili sauce, juicy mango or papaya salad, grilled satay skewers, shrimp chips or DIY lettuce wraps.
Homemade Thai Red Curry Paste
Feel free to use your favourite store bought Thai curry paste at the grocery store or prepare from scratch in your kitchen. Use a mortar and pestle to grind all the ingredients together until you’ve created a smooth and fragrant mixture. This homemade Thai red curry paste recipe yields 4-5 tablespoons.
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds, roasted until brown
- 2 cardamom pods, roasted until brown
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 10, large red dried chillies (seeds removed soaked in water for 10 minutes then finely chopped)
- 1 tsp galangal, skin removed and chopped
- 2 tsp lemongrass, chopped
- 1 tsp kaffir lime peel, chopped
- 1 tbsp coriander root, chopped
- 3 tbsp shallots, chopped
- 3 tbsp garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp shrimp paste
- 10, Thai red chillies
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Beef and Pumpkin Curry Recipe
Thai Beef and Pumpkin Curry
- chef knife
- Wooden spoon
- measuring cup
- measuring spoons
- 4 cups Butternut Squash diced 3cm cubes
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
Thai Beef Curry
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 700 g sirloin steak sliced
- 2 tsp fresh ginger minced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 cup lemongrass sliced
- 4 lime leaves
- 4 oz Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste
- 1 Medium cooking onion finely chopped
- 1 cup Green beans cut in half
- 1 tbsp Palm, cane or brown sugar
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 600 ml Coconut milk (1 1/2 cans) Use remainder for coconut rice
- 1/2 cup Beef stock
- 1 Thai chili seeds removed and finely sliced
- 1/4 cup Thai basil finely sliced
- 1/3 cup Salted peanuts
- Peel pumpkin and dice into 3cm cubes. Toss in vegetable oil and roast in a 400F oven for one hour. After 30 minutes remove pumpkin from the oven and flip them over so they brown on both sides. Remove from oven, let cool and set aside.
Thai Beef Curry
- Meanwhile, slice sirloin steak into thin strips. Flash fry the beef in a large wok over medium high heat for 1 minute, just to brown the exterior. Remove beef strips from the wok and let rest.
- Add garlic, ginger, lemongrass and lime leaves to the wok and stir for one minute on medium heat. Add sliced onion, green beans and Red Thai Curry Paste. Cook the mixture on low-medium heat for 5 minutes, until onion and beans are tender.
- Add brown sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, coconut milk and beef stock. Simmer curry sauce on medium heat for 5-10 minutes until it has reduced into a thicker consistency like gravy.
- Add roasted pumpkin and beef strips to the curry sauce and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Scoop Beef and Pumpkin Curry into individual bowls topped with sliced peppers, Thai basil and roasted peanuts. Serve alongside spring rolls and coconut rice.
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How To Make Easy Homemade Thai Beef and Pumpkin Curry