Lets give good old pumpkin a glamorous makeover today with Thai style Red Pumpkin Curry! In most homes this delicious vegetable ends up being used in a couple of recipes that everybody finally gets tired of eating. My mom always made a Punjabi style tomato onion based pumpkin curry with it or if we had surplus pumpkin then a halwa as well. As delicious as those were always, I got tired of these two predictable dishes. I don’t really like predictability in the kitchen!
In the early days of my blog, I explored cooking Thai food at home. Back then it was quite challenging to find some of the essential ingredients used in making Thai green and red curry pastes. The ready to use pastes were not that easily available in Lahore either. So I experimented with creating the closest to authentic flavours by making Thai Green Curry Paste and Thai Red Curry Paste at home, from scratch, using available substitutes.
In past five years, Thai food has become very popular very fast in Lahore. Maybe because the flavour profile is very close to our own tastebuds. The basic ingredients as well as ready to use pastes are more easily available in bigger grocery stores. Still in many areas in Lahore and definitely in smaller cities it would be near impossible to find these items.
That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this deliciously creamy, fragrant and luscious Thai Red Pumpkin Curry! Even I still prefer to use the fresh pastes that I created years ago with locally available stuff. Making fresh paste would make this Thai Red Pumpkin Curry so much more flavorful and aromatic than the store bought version.
If you decide to go the easier way with ready to use curry paste, even then do remember add some fresh ginger, lemon leaves or lemon rind to give your curry that irresistible kick which is essentially Thai.
3 cups pumpkin flesh cut into bite sized cubes
Thai red curry paste, 4-5 tablespoons ( homemade or store bought)
Basil or coriander leaves
2 tablespoons coconut or sunflower oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 inch piece ginger, grated
1+1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup vegetable stock
For Homemade Thai Red Curry Paste :
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
4-5 red chillies
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoon tomato purée or tomato ketchup
3 cloves garlic
1 big thumb of ginger, almost 1 inch or 1 teaspoon galangal
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons coconut milk
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 stalk lemon grass or zest of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
Toast cumin and coriander till aromatic.
Just add all the ingredients to food processor and whiz till you have a smooth paste. If its too thick, add a little more coconut milk.
This Is What You Do:
Easy way to cut a pumkin:
Cut a smallish pumpkin in half. Wrap in foil sheet. Place in a preheated oven (180 degrees C) for 30 minutes.
When cool enough to handle. Slice away skin, remove seeds and pith. Easily cut already soft flesh into bite sized cubes.
Heat oil in a pan, add onion, garlic and ginger. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
Add red curry paste. Sauté till it is darker in colour.
Add pumpkin cubes and stir fry. If using cooked Pumpkin, it will only take a couple of minutes. If using uncooked pumpkin, it will take longer and you shall have to add more vegetable stock or water.
Add coconut milk and basil or lemon leaves. Let simmer for 10 minutes on medium low heat. Add a little stock or water if it gets too thick.
Check for the balance of salty, sour and spicy according to your taste.
Serve hot over steamed rice.