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Burmese Squash Curry over Rice

Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Vegetarian
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Why we love it:

As we do often at E+S, this recipe is based on a favorite meal from a local Burmese restaurant that we’ve recreated with grocery store basics and a faster preparation time. We pay homage to that dish, typically made with a whole pumpkin and cooked for hours!


  • 212 cups Water (divided)
  • 14 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 4 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1 Yellow Onion (small onion, small dice)
  • 12 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 14 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 2 Yams (peeled)
  • 1 cup Long Grain White Rice
  • 1 Eggplant (diced in 1” cubes)
  • 12 pound Zucchini (green or yellow, cut in 2” cubes)
  • 2 Slicer Tomatos (sliced in wedges)
  • 1 15-ounce can Coconut Milk
  • 12 bunch Basil (chopped for serving)

Cooking Instructions

  • 1. BROTH

    In a large pot (one you’d make pasta in) combine 1 ¼ cups of water, turmeric, bay leaf, minced garlic, diced onion, red chili flakes, ginger, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, and bay leaf to the water. Bring to a simmer.

    Meanwhile, peel and dice the yams into 1” cubes. When they’re ready, add them to the broth mixture and cover the pot.

  • 2. RICE

    While the broth begins cooking, combine the rice, remaining 1 ¼ cup water, and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt in a small pot with a fitted lid. Bring this to a boil, then stir once. Turn heat to low and cover. Time the pot for 17 minutes and don’t lift the lid which will let the steam escape. When the timer goes off, turn off the heat and stir the rice. Cover it and let it sit off the heat until it’s time to serve.


    Dice the eggplant into 1” pieces and the squash into pieces that are about twice as large. Add both to the broth and yams. Stir to coat and cover again. Cook for about 10 minutes until they’re mostly soft.


    Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes into wedges - about 6 per tomato. You can use a paring knife to remove just the core first if you like, but most of the time you won’t need it if you slice your wedges through the center of the core. Place them in a small bowl for now.

    Chop basil leaves, even the stems.


    Add the coconut milk and stir to combine. Add the tomatoes and cook for a final 3-5 minutes or until all of the veggies are soft and the sauce has thickened a bit.

  • 6. PLATING

    Serve a big scoop of white rice in a bowl and make a bed to catch the curry. Spoon the veggies and sauce into the rice and garnish generously with basil. Try not to serve anyone the bay leaf.

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  • PALEO:
    Omit rice and add cauliflower florets to the stew, or serve it over cauliflower rice. Consider adding thinly sliced chicken to poach in the liquid as well.
    When the coconut milk has been added, you can add shrimp or cubes of white fish to gently poach for about 4 minutes.
    Cube it and either pan fry it first or don’t
    Great over brown rice too but takes longer to steam
    Cauliflower florets or a few extra zucchini and yams
  • YAMS :
    A more classic version is with pumpkin! Try butternut squash cubes or go for the pumpkin or kabocha squash preparation.
    While the yam is cooking, add 1/2 pound thinly sliced chicken breast to the liquid.

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

  1. Cook the rice ahead. Reheat with a splash of water and microwave
  2. The curry is delicious when reheated. Add a bit of water, stock, or more coconut milk to thin it out as desired
Rate this recipe:
4 votes, average: 4.25 out of 54 votes, average: 4.25 out of 54 votes, average: 4.25 out of 54 votes, average: 4.25 out of 54 votes, average: 4.25 out of 5 (4 votes, average: 4.25 out of 5)
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