Even if you’re not a confident cook, a healthy stir-fry dish can be quick and easy to make. This recipe uses butternut squash which is not only tasty, but also low in calories and a rich source of nutrients and vitamins. Pumpkin can be used as an alternative to butternut squash. And for a vegetarian option, leave out the pork and change the oyster sauce for mushroom sauce and simply add in a few more vegetables. Bangkok-based Thai food aficionado, Gary Butler (aka The Roaming Cook), shares his recipe for you to try at home. Over to you, Gary.
Stir-fried butternut squash with pork & Thai basil
This is a quick and easy recipe that should take no more than 15 minutes from start to finish. This is an adaptation of a dish I was shown at Tikky’s Cafe in Chiang Mai. Adding butternut squash or pumpkin to a stir-fry dish works well and gives it added colour and a natural sweetness that balances beautifully with the mellow, peppery flavour from the Thai basil. To make the dish even healthier, use a non-stick wok to reduce the amount of oil needed.
Serves: 2 people
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
- 1 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil.
- 5 cloves garlic.
- 1 small red Thai/birds-eye chilli. Leave out if you don’t want it hot!
- 1 large red chilli cut in half lengthways.
- 1 small red onion cut into 2.5cm chunks.
- half a small squash peeled and sliced in 0.5cm thick pieces.
- 200 grams minced pork (try to buy free range).
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce.
- 1 tsp light Thai soy sauce.
- 2-3 white peppercorns.
- 1 tsp sugar.
- 200 ml water (you probably won’t need all of this).
- 1 bunch Thai basil leaves.
- 1 lime cut across the belly.
- Put the peppercorns, garlic and Thai chilli (if using) in a pestle and mortar and pound to a rough paste. Cut up the vegetables and set aside.
- Heat the oil on medium-high heat, add the paste and stir fry for a minute or so.
- Add the pork, keeping it moving and fry for a minute. Go in with the squash and onions, turn up the heat to high and cook for another couple of minutes. Make sure it’s all constantly moving. At this point, you should have a little colour on the pork.
- Add the sugar, oyster, soy and enough water to loosen it all up and make a sauce. Turn the heat down a bit and let the pork cook through in the sauce (this won’t take long).
- Throw in the Thai basil and turn off the heat. Let the basil wilt in the residual heat from the wok.
- Check for seasoning, adding a little soy or sugar if you think it needs it. Serve on steamed jasmine rice with a squeeze of lime.
This recipe and images are from The Roaming Cook website and used here with the kind permission of Gary Butler.
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The Roaming Cook
Originally from the UK, Gary now lives in Bangkok with his wife and young son. A passionate foodie, Gary is equally at home at a simple street food stall as he is at an upmarket restaurant. Follow The Roaming Cook for insider travel tips and advice on where to eat during your trip to Thailand.