This post (along with the next one I have in mind) is decidedly unseasonal – which, be assured, is a rarity for me. This one’s especially out of place because where are you going to find a pumpkin in the next 6 months? I had a particularly stubborn one sticking around since October, unusual considering the rest of the 10-15 pumpkins I had throughout the fall barely made it past Thanksgiving (if I didn’t first stab them in the face and rip out their guts all while forcing a perverse, toothless smile before burning them from the inside out until finally having an impromptu collision with the sidewalk…or roast them). It wasn’t until after cooking this curry the first time that I realized what a gem the little pumpkin-dude was and proceeded to dig through the compost bucket (luckily just 2 day’s worth at that point) to find the seeds and eventually foster its spawn. Even if I hadn’t performed the rescue mission, the pumpkins seeds probably would’ve been okay, as every year we have a little rogue pumpkin patch growing out of the compost pile. We don’t tend them at all, they just grow wild amongst other squash (last year we had 4 different types) and tomato plants due to composting their seeds. But, no, these seeds need a better home, even if it’s just an envelope until we have more space.
Speaking of seeds, it’s officially spring and our seed-starting is in full swing. This is the earliest year we’ve started (yep…) and Burton is being as nurturing as ever, it’s rare I see him without a spray bottle and seedling in his hand, playing musical-windowsills as the sunlight slinks through different parts of the apartment. Last spring it was impossible to find any tupperware in the kitchen; every night he’d bring them all outside to use as makeshift greenhouses: shelter for the baby plants from the cruel, windy nights and humid little domes come morning sun.
Considering the size of our garden, we plant a pretty wide variety of crops. New to the roster this year is beets, romanesco (taking the place of broccoli) and red cabbage. Amongst them all, our favorites are ones we’ve treasured from previous seasons. Our neighborhood actually has an event called Seed Dating (at the Polish Falcon, usually on Earth Day I think) where people go to trade or give away seeds. So cool.
Okay, enough about the garden and onto this really, really tasty curry. We first made it for a Wednesday Movie Night dinner and with the griddle frying up the naan along with the rice cooker going, we blew a fuse. Twice. Three times? It was an unruly fuse, leaving us to run an extension cord and put the griddle on the floor to finish the naan. Despite that, it all came out great (and luckily we also had spring rolls to distract our honored guests) but even the second time making this, I couldn’t help but think back to eating it in the mostly-dark kitchen.
Since, as I said, this is as unseasonal as it gets, it’s totally fine to replace the fresh pumpkin with canned. I do encourage you to try the recipe again come harvest season though! The chunks vs. purrey provide some welcomed texture. The recipe calls for thai red curry paste which I’ve included a recipe for as well, but feel free to use a canned variety if you already have some on hand (it really doesn’t compare to freshly made stuff though). The components are the foundation of any thai food so make extra to freeze!
And I’ve included a good recipe for naan because it’s basically essential.
- 1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 1-2 tablespoons sorghum (or honey, molasses)
- arils from one pomegranate (tamarind paste would be a fine substitution)
- salt + pepper, to taste
Cook the rice as usual (I find everyone has their own rice method depending on their pot thickness or using a rice cooker). Add the sorghum and pomegranate arils right before serving.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin, cubed
- 1 (14 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
- 1/4 cup sweet thai chili sauce (I just add mirin to regular/hot chili sauce until desired sweetness)
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons thai red curry paste
- 1 tablespoon liquid aminos (or soy sauce, tamari)
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- the juice of 1 lime
- 1/3 cup roasted cashews, chopped
While the rice is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the coconut oil. Once hot, add the pumpkin, saute 2 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients to the skillet, stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, cook 8-10 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Remove from the heat, cover with lime juice and garnish with cilantro.
Serve the curry over the rice. Add a sprinkle of chopped cashews and a handful of fresh pomegranate arils.
Thai red curry paste and naan recipe after the break
Thai red curry paste:
- 8 red spur, prik haeng or other dried Thai chiles (New Mexico or chiles de arbol work if you can’t find)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cumin powder
- 10 – 15 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon sliced lemongrass
- 2-3 shallots
- 1 tablespoon sliced galangal (or ginger)
- 1/2 the peel of 1 kaffir lime (usually hard to find, just omit if so)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chilies. Soak in a bowl of warm water for 10-15 minutes. Be sure to wash your hands afterwards! Pace your shallots, garlic, ginger or galanga root, coriander, cumin and salt into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Once the chilies have finished soaking, drain the water off and add them to the food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and grind to a paste, scraping the bowl down as you go. Stores up to 1 month in the fridge or up to a year frozen. May stain your plastic containers so use glass!
Naan: here’s my go-to recipe (from the Food Network of all places) since it’s too long to type out haha: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/aarti-sequeira/naan-indian-oven-baked-flat-bread-recipe.html