curry – always ugly in a photo!
This recipe comes from the usually very reliable Curry. I chose this based purely on the fact that we had both pumpkin and prawns to use up. I was a bit concerned about both the lack of chilli and the coconut milk, as I know this is not one of Andy’s favourite ingredients.
But you never know, if you never give it a go. By our standards, this is a very mild curry. This would suit people who aren’t big on spice (whether that be chilli spice or just lots of different spices) and could easily be served as a vegetarian dish (or side) by omitting the prawns.
Personally I found it lacking in the heat department (rectified by some generous spoonfuls of a fearsome Chinese chilli chutney I have!). Also, as pumpkin doesn’t hold its shape well, if you overcook (like we did – the whole point of curry is cook ahead!) you end up with kind of a pumpkin sludge, rather than pumpkin. Finally, I used coconut cream, rather than milk because that is what was available. However, both coconut and pumpkin are very sweet and, without a serious spice backbone, for both Andy and me, this curry came out a little too sweet for our liking.
This is definitely a dish which has appeal but serve as part of a meal, rather than as the meal, and watch the cooking of the pumpkin.
A final note: I really recommend growing your own curry leaves. They’re fearsomely expensive here in Adelaide (if you can find/buy them at a supermarket) and a curry leaf plant is a very easy patio plant to deal with. No excuses!
- vegetable oil
- ½ tsp black mustard seeds
- cumin seeds (pinch, or to taste!)
- curry leaves (10, or more if you love them)
- inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced finely
- three dried Kashmiri chillis, broken in half
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 150g pumpkin, cut into chunks
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tin coconut cream
- 8 large green prawns, peeled & deveined, leave the tail section on for glamour, if you wish
- Heat the oil in a wok and add the mustard and cumin seeds. When they start popping, add the curry leaves, ginger, chillis and onion. Cook over a low - medium heat until the onions start turning golden.
- Add the pumpkin and turmeric, stir, and add the coconut cream and add water to cover the pumpkin. Stir and bring to the boil. Cook, covered, until the pumpkin begins to soften.
- When you're ready to eat, reduce the heat, add the prawns and cook until they are done.
- Serve immediately. We served over egg noodles for a change, but rice would work just as well.
For Christmas Andy gave me a very cool book called The Flavour Thesaurus. The book goes through almost every ingredient you could imagine and covers obvious and less obvious food pairings.
I’ve read through it but haven’t had the time or opportunity to play around with some of the ideas. However, with half a butternut squash to turn into soup I turned to The Flavour Thesaurus in the hope that it would provide me with a more interesting idea than just chilli. And while I don’t think that pumpkin and ginger is exactly an out there or novel combination this was still a good way to do something I wouldn’t have normally.
Of course, it turns out I really can’t do anything without chilli, so we finished the soup with chilli oil which added a good kick and, surprisingly, the sesame oil added to the spice warmth of the dish. However, the following day (when I was eating leftovers for lunch) I added a teaspoon of sambal oelek – which was an even better idea!
As with all soups, this is ludicrously simple and quick. Serve hot, with crumpets.
- 1 onion, chopped
- quarter of butternut squash (or pumpkin) ~ 300 g - peeled, seeded, diced
- 1 large potato, peeled and diced
- 2cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 500mL water
- ½ pot of stock concentrate (vegetable or chicken)
- (or ~ 500mL of stock)
- chilli oil (to serve)
- Heat some oil in a large saucepan and sweat down onion.
- When onion is soft, add pumpkin, potato and ginger, and cover with water or stock.
- Cook until the pumpkin and potato are soft.
- Blitz with stab mixer until smooth and adjust seasoning.
- Serve piping hot, topped with a little chilli oil if desired.
Before blitzing … … and the finished product.
The weather is getting a little colder now (it’s officially winter here in Australia) and as far as I’m concerned this means it’s soup time because soup is easy, warming and comforting. There is nothing better than curling up on the sofa with a big bowl of piping hot soup and some toast.
We’d had some leftover pumpkin (actually a butternut squash) and I decided that I could easily turn this bit of vege into dinner.
This is my standard approach to soup and it works perfectly well for pretty much any left over vegetable. If the vegetable you’re using is particularly watery you should up the amount of potato you use – as potato is the magic thickener.
Begin by finely chopping half a large onion (or a whole medium sized one) and sauté it in some light olive oil or butter. With pumpkin soup you don’t have to worry about the onion taking on colour. When the onion starts to soften add 1 potato which you’ve peeled and chopped and then add your chopped pumpkin. For the two of us, and the above amounts of onion and potato I used a quarter of a butternut squash.
Give the vegetables a very quick sauté and then add enough stock to just cover them. You really need to use the best stock you can get your hands on and these days there’s no need to use stock cubes because there’s plenty of real stock options available. I usually use a stock jelly so I can just add that and top up with water. Give the mix a good stir and, if you have any fresh thyme to hand, add a sprig or two of that and bring the mix to the boil. Then reduce the heat and let it simmer until the vegetables are really well cooked.
Finish the soup by pulsing with a stab mixer (first take out the sprigs of thyme!) to make the mix as smooth as you want it. It may be super thick, in which case let it down with some water.
And if you have a bit more time to spare, you can always roast the pumpkin/squash. If you’re going to do this, it will be soft anyway, so cook the potato thoroughly before adding the pumpkin to the soup.
Serve piping hot, perhaps with a dollop of sour cream (or normal cream) as decoration. Just make sure you have plenty of hot, buttery toast on the side. Feeling like you need some protein with this? Top with some crispy, fried bacon!