Skip to navigation | Skip to content | Skip to footer

Squash, coconut, chilli

This simple squash curry is the sort of thing you could rustle up quickly on a chilly weekday evening. You can make the dish as hot or mild as you like by adjusting the quantity of fresh chilli and by the curry powder or paste you choose to use. I’d go for a fairly mild variety of chilli, so you can put plenty of it in for colour and texture without blowing everyone’s head off.


Peel and deseed the squash, then cut it into bite-sized chunks.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook gently for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and chillies and cook for another couple of minutes. Stir in the curry powder or paste and cook for a minute or two. Now add the squash, with some salt and pepper, and stir well to coat it in the spicy, oniony mixture. Cook for a further 2 minutes or so.

Pour in the coconut milk, stir well and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook gently for 20–25 minutes, stirring carefully every now and then. You want the squash to be perfectly tender and yielding, but not mushy or falling apart. The cooking time will depend on the squash variety.

When the squash is cooked to your liking, taste the curry and add more salt and pepper if needed. Finish with a good spritz of lime or lemon juice. Ladle into bowls and serve with rice and/or naan or flatbreads.

Serving suggestions

Plus one or two

Green beans, whole or in 4–5 cm lengths, added to the curry about 8–10 minutes before the end of cooking, will add colour and texture. And, of course, a generous scattering of chopped coriander leaves is a nice way to finish the dish.

River Cottage Vouchers - Shop Now


  • 800g–1kg squash, such as Crown Prince, butternut or kabocha
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2–4 mild or medium red chillies, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 good tablespoon of your favourite curry powder or paste, or to taste
  • 400ml tin coconut milk
  • A squeeze of lime or lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

This recipe is taken from...

Hugh’s Three Good Things