Recipe by Cameron Stillion
Delicious seasonal fall/winter curry (Thai-style) and quite frankly, the best way to eat pumpkin. This is my own concoction, but is based on the pattern of many Thai curries. Like them, you can add other vegetables to this recipe (whatever is in your fridge) with some abandon. Some of the best variations on this have come from tossing in cauliflower, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, etc. Just make sure you allow the vegetable you choose to adequately soften during the simmer. too much and it will be mushy, not enough, and it may be hard or crunchy. Like most curry recipes, it's much easier to do all the cutting ahead of time. The pumpkin especially can be time consuming and hard work to cut and dice. I prefer the flavor of pork loin, but chicken can also be substituted, and this curry works well as a vegetarian dish also. Add more vegetables.
- 1 large yellow onion (not sweet)
- 3 (13 ounce) cans coconut milk
- 1 small whole pumpkin
- 2 lbs boneless pork loin or 2 lbs chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 -4 tablespoons panang curry paste (I recommend Mae Ploy. Also, you can use red curry paste if you don't have panang)
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 orange bell pepper
- 1 large carrot
- 8 -10 fresh basil leaves (red thai basil if you can find it)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar or 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- 4 cups brown rice
Directions See How It's Made
- Clean the pumpkin and save the seeds for baking later (if you like). Cut the pumpkin skin off, leaving the stiff orange meat. A small pumpkin will yield a lot of meat, so feel free to freeze the chunks you don't use, that way you can make this recipe again a week from now.
- Start your rice so that it will be hot and ready right when the curry is finished. I recommend one cup per plate at the table.
- Dice the pumpkin meat into ~ 1" cubes. Set aside 4-6 cups of the chunks, and refrigerate or freeze the rest.
- Place your wok or stew pot on the stove on med. high. Add the olive oil and allow it to reach stir-fry temperature. (approx. 1 minute).
- Dice the onion and sautee in the olive oil until golden. (approx. 2 min.).
- Cut the meat into chopstick-accessible sized pieces, and add to the pot with curry paste. Stir them together while they heat, mixing the flavors. The meat should be browned on the outside, but not overdone (approx. 5 min.) Use the fan on your stove, as the curry paste may waft strongly during this phase.
- Shake the coconut cans well and pour them into the pot, be sure to scrape any coconut residue out from the cans, as they tend to settle.
- allow the coconut milk to reach a boil, then turn the heat down to medium. (approx. 5 min.).
- Mix in the pumpkin chunks, and let the mixture simmer. This will soften the pumpkin and further mix the flavors. (5-7 min.).
- Slice the carrot and add it to the mix. Simmer 3 minute.
- Slice the bell peppers and add them to the mix. These cook faster than the pumpkin, and will wilt if left to simmer too long, they should still be a bit crispy. (3 min).
- test the vegetables and ensure they are reaching the right softness, mixing the curry to encourage flavor distribution.
- When they do, remove from heat and add the brown sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce. Adjust the salt level by adding more fish sauce if desired. Adjust the sweet/sour by adding more lime juice if desired.
- To serve, place 1/2-3/4 cup of cooked rice on a plate or bowl, then place a large scoop of curry on top. Be sure to get pieces of meat and pumpkin, and plenty of broth.
- Tear the thai basil leaves into largish chunks, and spread a few on top of the curry, then serve.