Saturday, November 21, 2009

We Made Pumpkin Cashew Curry ON HALLOWEEN!

On Halloween this year, Alena, Martha and I (Sarah G.) had the idea to carve a jack-o-lantern AND make something with actual, real, not-from-a-can pumpkin. (Take a look at our aquatic jack-o-lantern, pictured above!) Originally, I had envisioned that a single pumpkin could serve both purposes, but DUH--the pumpkin meat is attached to the skin, so a second pumpkin was needed.

Cooking with pumpkin isn't that different from cooking with any other kind of winter squash. Peeling it is a pain in the ass, but once you're over that hurdle, it's pretty easy. Also, I think pumpkin is tougher than other kinds of winter squash, so you have make sure to cook it until it's soft enough.

When Hill, Martha, Annie and I were in Cambodia, we had some really great pumpkin dishes. I remember one had pan fried tofu with pumpkin, scallions and ginger. There were also some amazing pumpkin curries. I've thought about making similar dishes for the past couple years, so we searched the web and found this recipe on Epicurious.

Creamy Pumpkin and Cashew Curry
Bon Appetite October 2009

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 4 1/2 cups 3/4-inch cubes peeled seeded sugar pumpkin or butternut squash (from about one 1 3/4-pound whole pumpkin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds*
  • 8 curry leaves** (Just used regular old curry powder.)
  • 2 small red onions, cut into 1/3-inch wedges
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 dried chiles de √°rbol*** (Couldn't find this--just used a ton of cayenne.)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted roasted cashews
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 11/2 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk****
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro plus additional for garnish (We also garnished with scallions and sliced almonds.)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Steamed basmati rice

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add pumpkin and cook until golden, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to same skillet. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves; cook until seeds pop and leaves sizzle, 30 seconds. Add onions, garlic, and ginger. Sauté until onions are golden, 4 minutes. Add chiles, cashews, turmeric, and cumin; stir-fry 1 minute. Add coconut milk and coconut cream. Increase heat to mediumhigh. Boil until thickened, 2 minutes. Return pumpkin to pan; reduce heat to medium. Simmer until pumpkin is tender, 4 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup cilantro and lime juice. Spoon over rice; garnish with additional cilantro.

* Sold at specialty foods stores, Indian and Asian markets, and If unavailable, use brown mustard seeds.

** Also known as kari patta; available at Indian markets.

*** Thin, red, hot three-inch-long chiles; available at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores and Latin markets.

**** Available at supermarkets and at Indian, Southeast Asian, and Latin markets.

It was the perfect Halloween meal. Rich, spicy, sweet, yummy, SPOOKY!!! Not really. But still.

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