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Sunday, October 05, 2008

South Indian Pumpkin & Cashew Curry



I've been wanting to try this recipe ever since I saw the intense photo of the dish in India's Vegetarian Cooking: A Regional Guide. I've never cooked much with pumpkin, but this recipe with cashews, coconut, poppy seeds and milk really called out to me. The cashews, coconut and poppy seeds are ground together to a paste, which gave the dish a lovely texture to compliment the smooth pumpkin. It's a delicious mellow curry with lots of character.

The recipe uses fresh curry leaves, which can be difficult to find. I was thrilled to finally make it to Malabar Indian Store on 4th Street (at F) in San Rafael. A treasure trove of Indian goodies, Malabar had fresh curry leaves, tamarind concentrate, black mustard seeds and an enormous selection of legumes, rice, and spices at reasonable prices. They also carry lots of frozen meals and I picked up a 4 pack of frozen coconut chutney to try.

I added onions to the dish and used a combo of fresh chile and RCP (vs red dried). I increased the amount of cashew and decreased the amount of dried coconut. I also significantly reduced the amount of sugar. Here's my adapted recipe:

South Indian Pumpkin & Cashew Curry:
1/2 small pumpkin, seeded, peeled and cut into pieces
1/4 cup dried coconut
1/3 cup raw cashews
1 TBS poppy seeds
1/4 cup water
1/2 jalapeno, seed and very finely chopped
2 TBS sunflower oil
1/2 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
6 curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup milk
water as needed
sugar to taste (I used less than a tsp)
salt to taste

Prepare the pumpkin. In a mini-prep, grind together the cashews, coconut, poppy seeds and 1/4 cup water to make a grainy paste.

Heat the sunflower oil in a skillet and saute the onions. Add the black mustard seeds and when they start to pop, add the chile. Add the curry leaves. Add the turmeric and then the paste and stir well to combine. Add the pumpkin with 1/4 cup water. Add the milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, adding the salt and sugar to taste. Add water as needed to prevent the mixture sticking and to keep the pumpkin cooking. The pumpkin should be just tender, but easily holding its shape.

Serve with rice.



14 Comments:

Blogger Vegan Knitting said...

Oh, that looks delicious! I love all of the ingredients in it, except for fresh curry leaves, which I've never had before.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Kalyn said...

I got some curry leaves as a gift and I've been trying to figure out how to use them. Meanwhile I have them in the freezer, which is probably not ideal, but I didn't know what else to do.

11:33 AM  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

That's great! Mmm, sounds tasty.
Thanks for the address of the Indian store!

Kalyn: I had some fresh curry leaves once, and left them in their cellophane bag on the kitchen counter. Where they went moldy.
Freezer sounds like the best spot.

11:54 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Thanks for your comments. The curry leaves were in the fridge and I plan to freeze any I can't use quickly.

This was soooo tasty - I highly recommend it!

8:42 PM  
Blogger mitr_bayarea said...

Catherine,

Your south indian pumpkin has come out very well. This is one of my favorite curries that I prepare at home. The hard part for me is to not overcook the pumpkin so that it becomes pulpy at times. How did you manage to cook the pumpkin so that it retains its shape.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks delicious. How much poppy seed do you use?

4:11 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

anon- thanks for the catch - 1 TBS. I'll update the recipe.

mitr - the cooking time was 12 minutes in the original recipe, but my pumpkin was still too hard at that point. I had to cook it for 20 mins. I used a fresh pumpkin and had to add quite a bit of water as it cooked. Maybe it was a very tough pumpkin - not sure?

5:29 PM  
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1:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Catherine,
I really loved cooking as well as eating this vegetable. I added slightly less turmeric, and really loved the pale whitish yellow 'gentle' look of the vegetable ! Will look forward for more goodies :)
Thanks again

12:12 PM  

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