I think fall has finally arrived here in So Cal. Cool mornings and earlier sunset evenings now require a light jacket. It’s a nice respite from the blazing heat of just a few weeks ago. In addition, the fall lineup of fruits and vegetables has begun to make an appearance at the Larchmont Farmer’s Market. The many varieties of pumpkin and squash, apples and pears, and pomegranates are coloring the tables of the various produce vendors with their autumn hues.
When I think of fall fruits, as all of the above are, I think of warm fall spices enhancing a sweet dessert. Especially pumpkin.
Pumpkin means pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread and pumpkin cookies? Right?
Well, not this week. This week I bring you a pumpkin recipe that is everything you could want in a warm spiced, comforting meal of savory lusciousness. Pumpkin Curry. Creamy and chunky with a hint of heat, it is dinner in a bowl served over jasmine or basmati rice.
I offer the two diverse options of rice because this curry is a mash-up of the best of Thai and Indian curries. Bright and vibrant from the Thai red curry paste and Thai fish sauce (vegan) counterbalanced by the warm earthy flavors and hues of Indian curry spices; yellow curry powder, turmeric, cumin and dried coriander. Each culture’s curry enhances the other. Isn’t that they way it should be?
- Please note that I used fresh-cooked pumpkin puree and have included the recipe below. If you have time constraints, canned pumpkin works just fine.
- Kabocha squash is also known as Japanese pumpkin. It is meatier and denser than sugar pie pumpkin. I recommend using this option for the veggie chunks as it holds its shape and texture better when cooked than other pumpkins and squash.
- For both types of pumpkin there’s no need to remove the skin. For the puree, the skin deepens the color and adds texture. For the chunks of kabocha squash (Japanese pumpkin) the skin helps keep the squash from falling apart and adds taste, texture and a lovely hint of green to the deep orange-hued dish.
- Adding the spices early and sautéing deepens their flavor.
- For a spicier version sauté minced chili pepper of choice with the garlic and ginger.
- The toppings all offer an extra layer of color, flavor and texture and are a nice counterpoint to the creamy and earthy curry.
3 T neutral oil such as grapeseed oil
½ yellow onion, small dice
4 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 T fresh grated ginger
2 tsp curry powder (or to taste)
2 tsp ground cumin (or to taste)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 4 oz. jar red curry paste
1 medium sized tomato, chopped
2 cups vegetable or vegan chicken broth
2 cups homemade pumpkin puree (recipe follows) or one 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree
6 cups kabocha squash (Japanese pumpkin) cut in small chunks with skin on
2 cups cooked chickpeas, canned or homemade
1 T coconut sugar or organic brown sugar
1 T vegan Thai fish sauce
1 can full fat coconut milk
Kosher salt to taste
Cooked jasmine or basmati rice
Fresh cilantro leaves
Fresh line wedges
Heat the oil over medium heat in a very large and very deep skillet or Dutch oven until just shimmering. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Do not brown. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté another minute. Do not brown the garlic. Add the dried spices and sauté about 30 seconds. stirring constantly. Add the Thai red curry and tomato and cook another minute, stirring constantly. Add the kabocha squash chunks and sauté for a few minutes. stirring occasionally. Add the broth and pumpkin puree and bring to a rolling simmer, stirring up any bits stuck to the pan. Lower heat, cover, and cook until the kabocha squash is soft, 15 -20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chickpeas, sugar, fish sauce and coconut milk and stir up all to combine. Heat through on simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning. Add any extra spices and salt to taste. When hot, turn off heat, stir up and cover to thicken for 5-10 minutes. Serve over cooked rice with toppings of choice on the side. Refrigerate any leftovers. Delicious for several days. Freezes well.
1 small sugar pie pumpkin, about 2-3 pounds
Wash the pumpkin well and remove all outer dirt and debris. Remove the stem. Pierce the skin on both sides. Place in microwave on high for 2 minutes to soften the skin. Cut the pumpkin in half and remove all of the seeds and stringy flesh. Cut the pumpkin in 2 inch chunks, leaving the skin on. Place in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and cook until the flesh is soft, 15- 20 minutes, making sure that the water doesn’t boil out. Let cool a bit. Puree, skin and all, in a high-speed blender or food processor until creamy.
About Deborah Brooks
Deborah is currently a documentary film producer. She is also a former certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition coach. The shutdown of business due to Covid-19 and the implication of an animal wet market connection caused her to rethink her high animal protein food lifestyle. She has spent the last year exploring the world of plant based eating for her own health as well as the health of the planet and all of its sentient beings. Her recipes can be found on Instagram. She would love you to follow along on her journey.
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