There is no denying that pumpkin is in abundance at this time of year. Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin spice, pumpkin pie and of course, the frightful Jack-O-lanterns that line our streets. The Pumpkin vegetable itself is unsurprisingly a proud member of the squash family, retaining plenty of the sweet, nutty flavour that the butternut squash possesses.
Though, what I do find both surprising and equally unsurprising and perhaps just a common fact of life is that, pumpkins are really only available this time of year in supermarkets because of it being synonymous with Halloween and because of this, I think we only view them as ornaments rather than a tasty multi-faceted vegetable.
This recipe is a Thai influenced curry that I devised last Halloween. Essentially, as I was carving my way through last years pumpkin, it dawned on me that there is a lot of waste within the squash itself, especially the seeds and fleshy gunk. I used some ingenuity (and a large dose of improvisation/luck) and transformed it into a delicious curry that got me craving its replication the coming year. The pumpkin flavour is subtle but wonderful.
This recipe is perfect for those who will be pumpkin carving within the next few days, or just want a new recipe to try. Furthermore, due to Halloween being in three days time, pumpkins are being reduced and will most likely be reduced further still! This is great for those who want to grab a bargain, whilst enjoying the spirit of Hallows Eve. I hope this recipe will encourage you to use every part of a vegetable.
One of the ingredients, Thai Basil, is relatively difficult to find. Wonderfully fragrant and used in a multiplicity of Oriental dishes, I implore that you try and get your hands on it as it does add another dimension to the tastiness. I bought mine from Waitrose as it has only started recently being stocked; other supermarkets have not stocked it yet, but I have also seen the herb in outdoor food markets.
Other than that, the majority of my ingredients were bought from Lidl. It did appear that when I went for my weekly shop everything I wanted wasn’t available (I went on a Wednesday and everything is restocked on a Thursday apparently). So, a few of my ingredients were bought from Sainsburies and Waitrose which are my nearest supermarkets. And also, some of the spices I already had in my food cupboard (building a stocked spice selection is vital to any budding chef-to-be). I did pick up a random vegetable that I decided to use which was a gourd, that was for sale in Lidl and it was so cute and intriguing I couldn’t resist! The taste was actually very fresh and sweet, similar to a cucumber, but was lovely in the curry.
So lo and behold, MY PUMPKIN CURRY 😊 This recipe is packed with veg, flavour and uses the whole pumpkin.
Curry itself serves 4 people, the rice I cooked served 2 people. (I batch cook a lot for later on in the week)
Prep time: 1 hour, Cook time: 1 hour (a labour of love but it is worth it)
- 1 large pumpkin – pumpkin guts
- 2 tbsp of coconut oil
- 1/3 gourd – cut 1 gourd in half, then into segments, removed inner seeds and outer shell and chop into 2cm chunks.
- 1 green pepper – roughly chopped
- A large handful of mange tout,
- 1 small courgette – finely chopped into thin circles
- 1 onion – finely chopped
- 1 red chilli – roughly chopped
- A bunch of Thai Basil – roughly chopped
- A bunch of fresh Coriander – roughly chopped
- 1 tsp of turmeric
- A jar of red thai curry paste (used Lidl’s was fab)
- 400ml can of coconut milk
- 2 cloves of garlic – roughly chopped
- A handful of spring onions – finely chopped
- 1 tsp of ground ginger
- A large handful of spinach
- 650g of Chicken thigh fillets
- 2 tsp of soy sauce
- Half a lime
- 250g of Jasmine rice
- Half a lime
- Half of the bunch of coriander
- Half of the bunch of Thai Basil
- Half of the red chilli
- A large handful of salted peanuts
- Pumpkin seeds – see below
Roasted pumpkin seeds: (when separated from pumpkin)
- 1 tsp of turmeric
- 1 tsp of paprika
- 1 tbsp of Olive Oil
- 1 tsp of chilli flakes
- Salt and pepper
PREPARE THE PUMPKIN:
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
- Cut out the head of the pumpkin, and thoroughly scrape the guts into a separate bowl. Make sure you get as much as possible as this will form the base of the curry paste.
- This is a labour of love, but then finely separate the guts from the pumpkin seeds into two separate bowls. It doesn’t matter if you can’t get each seed.
- If you are going to make the pumpkin shell into a Jack-O-Lantern then save it. But if not, brush the pumpkin with olive oil and wack in the oven for 45 minutes.
- Add the pumpkin guts to a saucepan and add 150ml of boiled water, season and stir occasionally throughout the whole cooking process. This will cook the pumpkin down to a slushy consistency.
- Rinse the seeds in a cullender and set aside.
CREATE THE CURRY:
- Dice and slice the veg according to the ingredients list above.
- Then, on a separate chopping board, chop the chicken thighs into roughly 1 inch chunks
- On a high heat, heat the coconut oil in a wok and add the chicken. Cook until the chicken is white all over the outside.
- Turn the heat down considerably and add the chopped onion and garlic, stir until the onion obtains that translucent cooked quality.
- Add half the chopped chilli, the chopped gourd and green pepper – stir
- Add the teaspoon of ground ginger – stir 2 mins
- Add the courgette
- Turn up the heat
- Take the pumpkin mush off the heat. By this point it should have been cooked down retaining its stringy quality still, but slushy. Add the pumpkin mush and the jar of red Thai curry paste at the same time and stir into the mixture.
- Add the mange tout and a firm squeeze of lime and add the tsp of turmeric and soy sauce. Stir thoroughly for 1 min
- Add the can of coconut milk, spring onion, half of the chopped coriander and Thai basil and season with salt and pepper.
- Stir thoroughly and leave to bubble and simmer so all the flavours can combine.
- Boil the kettle and cook 250g of Jasmine rice in a saucepan – leave to cook for 15 mins
PREPARE PUMPKIN SEEDS:
- Take out the pumpkin shell and leave to cool
- Add the pumpkin seeds to a roasting tray and season with turmeric, paprika, salt, pepper and chilli flakes. Add a dash of olive oil and put in the oven for 10-15 mins.
- Create a little plate of garnishing which includes the rest of the coriander, Thai basil, red chilli, half a lime and peanuts.
- Serve the Jasmine rice into two bowls.
- Take the curry off the heat and add the spinach. Stir until its wilted into the curry.
- Pour the curry into the pumpkin bowl and garnish with a few of the elements of the garnishing plate (but not all, so you can add them to your individual plate.)
- Take the pumpkin seeds out the oven and add them to a small serving bowl. (The seeds are also great to keep for tasty snacking and for garnishing salads)
I hope you have enjoyed reading and that you enjoy making! I highly recommend this curry, it’s so tasty – the pumpkin flavour is subtle, and compliments the Thai flavours perfectly. Also the stringy texture still remains which reminds you in each spoonful all of the goodness you are eating.
Another Halloween recipe is coming up in the next few days so keep an eye out!
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