Pumpkin curry is a fantastic meal this time of year, as nights turn chilly and one dreams of spending evenings by the fire, sipping red wine. (I don’t have a fireplace, so that is indeed a dream.) Regardless, this is a curry that’s perfect for the mellow fruitfulness of autumn — you can buy a big pumpkin and chop it up, saving the seeds to roast separately. You can also use butternut squash instead of pumpkin, which might be easier to find in stores, especially after Halloween.
I can’t take full credit for this recipe, as it borrows heavily from a Nigella Lawson version (and hers is easier, if you want to follow that one). But I add ingredients to make it more authentic Thai (namely, coconut cream, palm sugar, kaffir lime leaves and bird’s eye chile peppers), plus my homemade red curry paste. I particularly like Nigella’s addition of turmeric, as it gives this dish a lovely color. If pictures are your thing, here is a pictorial essay that I created a couple falls ago. Recipe is below. Enjoy!
Pumpkin Curry with Shrimp
1/2 can coconut cream (you can freeze other half)
3 tbsp red curry paste
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp palm sugar
1/2 can coconut milk (you can freeze other half)
1 cup fish stock
1/2 tsp turmeric
3 bird’s eye chiles, finely chopped
4-6 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
3 lemongrass stalks (tender lower-third of stalk, bruised with pestle or flat of knife)
2 lbs or so of pumpkin or butternulk squash, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 lb shrimp
1 head baby bok choy, shredded width-wise
1/2 lime, juiced (save the other half for a garnish)
Add coconut cream to wok; turn heat up to high and stir cream until it “cracks” (that is, the liquid reduces by about a third and starts to look oily.) Mix in curry paste, and allow to cook for a few minutes. Add fish sauce and palm sugar, allowing palm sugar to melt. Pour in coconut milk and fish stock. Add turmeric, chile peppers and kaffir lime leaves, then lemongrass stalks. Bring to boil, then add pumpkin/squash. Simmer until pumpkin is tender but still has “bite” to it. Add the shrimp. Cook for a few minutes, then stir in bok choy, letting it wilt. Add juice of half-lime. Serve over jasmine rice, garnish with lime. Delicious!