I never would have considered making a pumpkin curry to be "easy" until I tried it. I really went into this dish expecting not to like it! Pumpkin curry is one of my favorite take-out meals, so how could I possibly make the recipe at home be nearly as good as from the Thai place down the street?
Well, to my amazement, I LOVED this dish. I altered it from the original recipe to suit my tastes (bye, bye cilantro!) and I suggest you do the same to suit yours! Plus, with the amount of curry paste I used compared the amount I bought for ~$2, I'll be making this dish again, and again, and again . . .
This pumpkin curry pairs nicely with chicken, seafood, or tofu, and a variety of veggies. I highly recommend you give it a try. It may seem daunting at first, but it's definitely worth the effort!
I used a kabocha squash for this dish instead of a pumpkin. Why? Because that's how the Thai place down the street does it! I don't think I've ever seen actual pumpkin in a pumpkin curry in all my days. So I took that little tidbit and ran with it.
Step 1: Ingredients
adapted from Thai Yellow Pumpkin and Seafood Curry by Nigella Lawson
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk (about 1 2/3 cups)
1 to 2-tablespoons yellow Thai curry paste (or red if you like it hot!)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 lemongrass stalk, each cut into 1/3's and separated
3 Thai basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3 cloves garlic, toasted
2 1/4 pounds kabocha squash, peeled and cut into large, bite-sized chunks
2 pounds chicken, diced (or substitute salmon and shrimp, or tofu)
Vegetables of your choice
1/2 to 1 lime, juiced or more to taste
More Thai basil, for garnish
You can substitute cilantro for the basil if that's your thing. More authentic that way!
Step 2: How to Peel a Squash
I was amazed at how little information there is on the internet to help me figure out how to handle peeling a squash like this. It's really hard to do it when the squash is still raw! So this is what I did:
With a sharp knife, puncture some holes in the side of your squash.
Microwave on high for 6-8 minutes (mine needed 8).
Let cool in the microwave for 2 minutes.
Use a paring knife to peel away the skin of the squash. Much easier!
Your squash is now partially cooked, meaning the rest of the dish will go even faster!
Seed and chop your squash into bite-sized pieces.
Step 3: Procedure
In a large saucepan or pot, stir together the coconut milk and curry paste until combined. Add the stock, fish sauce, sugar, lemongrass, Thai basil, and turmeric. Bring to a boil.
Add the chicken (or other protein) and simmer for 4-6 minutes.
Stir in pumpkin, garlic, and other vegetables. Let simmer for another 4-6 minutes until everything is cooked through.
Squeeze half a lime over the curry and stir to incorporate. Adjust seasonings to taste!
Step 4: Serve
Serve over jasmine (my fave) or basmati rice.
Garnish with Thai basil, lime, and lemongrass stalks from the curry.
This recipe serves 4-6, and is great for leftovers. I hope you give it a try!