When cooked, pumpkin becomes sweet and makes the perfect partner for fiery chilli and warm spices such as cumin and turmeric. Despite its quick cooking time, this dish has a rounded flavor. Serve as a vegetable aside to meat and fish dishes or by itself with steamed basmati rice or flatbreads and maybe an accompanying salad.
- Yield: 4 servings
- Difficulty: Easy
- 1 pound pumpkin or butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 7 ounces freshly grated coconut
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 8-10 curry leaves
- 2 small red chiles, split in half lengthwise
- Put the pumpkin or butternut squash in a saucepan with the turmeric, smoked paprika, and the water. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 6-8 minutes or until tender.
- Grind half of the coconut in a spice mill or a mortar and pestle with the cumin seeds. Stir this into the pumpkin mixture and stir and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- In a small, nonstick frying pan, heat the oil until hot and add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, and red chiles. Stir and cook over high heat for 1-2 minutes, then pour this mixture over the pumpkin curry. Season and serve.
note: We tried this recipe with dried, grated, unsweetened coconut (available in health food stores), and it was delicious. Do not use sweetened shredded or flaked coconut.
Beverage pairing: Finding the perfect wine to pair with curries can be daunting, because the spices will clash with many wines containing too much tannin. And because of those same spices, high alcohol levels are also to be avoided. An off-dry Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley will not overpower this dish and also pairs very nicely with the sweet/earthy pumpkin component. Try the 2005 François Pinon Vouvray Cuvée Tradition.