Pumpkin Curry

When I was in high school, I had an Australian friend who absolutely refused to eat pumpkin pie. He said that pumpkins were certainly not meant to be in sweet things. They were a savory vegetable, and pumpkin pie was as weird as tomato pie or cabbage pie.

Now, I thought this was funny because, having spent plenty of growing up years in America, I considered pumpkins a sweet thing. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin butter… maybe a sweet pumpkin casserole if you're feeling particularly adventurous. However, after almost a decade of living in Fiji with other cultural influences influencing my perception of pumpkins (and other things), I now consider pumpkin one of the best of vegetables. It is wonderful sweet, and amazing savory, and can be made into SO many things. Pie, bread, soup, curry, pasta, ravioli filling, lasagna sauce, happy little spiced cubes to pile into pitas with tzatziki… pumpkins are a favorite of mine. Pretty much all of these things can also be done with a butternut or acorn squash to much the same effect.

For this post, I shall limit myself to one of my favorite applications of pumpkins: curry. I personally generally like vegetarian curry better than meat curry, although I will certainly not turn down a lamb curry. I am not a big fan of potato curry, but I love pumpkin, jackfruit, and sweet potato curry. So here you are: my pumpkin curry recipe.

Pumpkin Curry
(printable recipe)
1 small- medium pumpkin
2 onions, sliced

vegetable or olive oil

4 cloves garlic (smashed or minced)
2 T curry powder
2 T garam masala
1 T cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp paprika or 1/2 tsp chili powder (optional, for spiciness)
1/2 C coconut milk (optional)

Slice pumpkin into halves, scrape out the seeds, and peel the pumpkin. Peeling it is a little labor-intensive-- I've found that a serrated knife seems to work best for me, setting the pumpkin half on a cutting board and slicing off the skin, similar to skinning a pineapple. Cut the peeled pumpkin into about 1-inch square cubes, set aside.

Coat the bottom of a large saucepan with oil, and fry the onions and garlic until the onions begin to be slightly translucent. Add the spices and stir until fragrant, making a thick paste. Add about 1/2 c water, enough to thin the paste and make sure the spices don't burn.

Add the pumpkin cubes, and stir well. Add the coconut milk and/ or enough water to nearly cover the pumpkin (leave an inch or so out of the water, you don't want to drown the pumpkin). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer with the lid on until pumpkin is nearly cooked (about 20-30 min). Take off the lid and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly (about another 10-15 min).

Serve with rice and rotis (see here for roti recipe).

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