Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pumpkin Curry

This dish was inspired by a dish I had Thai restaurant I visited once. They had a vegetarian tasting menu that changes seasonally and it was such an unique experience because the food was amazing! One of the exotic dishes I tried there was pumpkin curry served on a bed of banana leaves. The chucks of pumpkin still had the outer skin on it so I could see it was a green pumpkin. So when I got home I googled what it was and discovered kabocha squash which is dark green on the outside but tastes sweeter than a pumpkin, a bit similar to a sweet potato. Surprisingly my local grocery store had it. I experimented making this recipe two different ways and this is what I've come up with. You can throw in whatever other vegetables you want, I liked using a bell pepper but green beans would work as well. You could also add chickpeas for more protein. I wanted authentic Thai flavor but couldn't find Thai basil (so I used regular basil) and found working with fresh lemongrass was a bit challenging. I served this on top of Jasmine rice.

Ingredients:
1 Kabocha Squash
1 Bell Pepper
1 cup of coconut milk
2 tablespoons of red curry paste
1 onion
3 garlic cloves, minced 
1 lime
Jasmine Rice
lemongrass (optional)
fresh cilantro, mint, or basil (season to your liking)
pepper


Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, and bake face down for 30 minutes.
  3. In the meantime remove the outer tough layers of the stalk of lemongrass, cut off the end and top third and discard. Chop the remaining lemongrass.
  4. Place lemongrass in a food processor to grind it up. This step is important because otherwise the sliced pieces will be hard to eat.
  5. Chop the onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Saute in a large pot with the lemongrass heated with oil.
  6. Add the curry paste to the onion mixture.
  7. Remove the squash from the oven,  chop the squash into bite size chunks and discard of the skin.
  8. Add coconut milk and and squash to pot. When the sauce comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer for about 8 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and squeeze lime into the curry. Season with pepper. Top with your choice of cilantro and mint leaves or fresh basil. 

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