• Serves: 4-6
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 50 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy

The beauty of this is it’’s very quick to make, and actually very simple despite having quite a few ingredients. It’’s also rather unusual, and probably different to any curry you’ve made before.

“I don’’t think I’ve ever had pumpkin before,” a friend of mine told me the other day. I was deeply saddened by this news. For me, autumn isn’t autumn without a pumpkin in the kitchen. Not just in the kitchen, actually,– I love the displays of pumpkins that appear at this time of year, and how a single pumpkin can form the basis of so many delicious meals.

I think there’’s only one way to cook a pumpkin: roast it. Drizzled with a little oil and given some assertive seasoning (warm spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and paprika work well), cubes or wedges of pumpkin become fudgy and marshmallow-like in the centre, gorgeously sweet, while their outsides crisp up, salty and caramelized. Then you can use them in a huge variety of ways: in a salad with some pecans and blue or goat’s cheese; stirred into a risotto with lashings of Parmesan and grated nutmeg; stuffed inside delicate ravioli, to be drizzled with a sage butter sauce; to enrich a meaty stew; mashed and fluffed up to go with sticky roast sausages…, they are one of the most versatile autumn vegetables.

Inspired by a recipe by Reza Mahammad, in his wonderful book Reza’s Indian Spice: Eastern Recipes for Western Cooks, I decided to give my pumpkin a little south Indian twist. Pumpkin (or squash) works wonderfully in curries. The base flavours of this dish are coconut, cashew nuts, mustard and cumin seeds, chilli, turmeric, and dried melon seeds, which you can track down at any good Asian grocer (but which can be substituted with more cashews if they prove elusive). This gives a gorgeous light, nutty curry paste, to which you add a generous amount of buttermilk to form a deliciously creamy sauce, rich with nuggets of cashew and coconut and fragrant with warm spice and a hint of chilli. Then in goes some roasted pumpkin, to soften a little and give a delicious sweetness to the mix.

In the spirit of autumnal cooking, I gave this curry a hit of green with some beans and wonderful Swiss chard. If you’ve never cooked with chard before, buy some of those gorgeous rainbow stalks while you can. It cooks in a similar way to spinach, and gives a fresh green crunch to the curry. All the ingredients for this can be bought at an Asian grocer or supermarket, but I’ve listed substitutions just in case you don’’t have one nearby.


here's what you'll need...

  • 35g cashew nuts
  • 30g dried melon seeds (or substitute with more cashews)
  • 1kg pumpkin or squash, peel and seeds removed
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 35g fresh grated or desiccated coconut
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 750ml buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 tbsp light sesame oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 dried red chilli (or more, depending on how hot you like it)
  • 15 curry leaves (fresh if possible; dried will do)
  • 200g green beans, topped and tailed and cut in half
  • 300g Swiss chard, stalks cut into 1 inch lengths, leaves shredded
  • Coriander and lime wedges, to serve

pumpkin ingredients shot

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pumpkin post image 3


pumpkin post image 4

set oven temp: 220C/gas mark 6

here's how it's done...

  • 1

    First, soak the cashews and melon seeds in boiling water while you prepare the pumpkin.

    pumpkin step 1

  • 2

    Chop it into 1 inch cubes. Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan). Put the pumpkin on a baking tray then drizzle with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until just tender, then remove from the oven and set aside.

    pumpkin step 2

  • 3

    Meanwhile, put the coconut, turmeric, ginger, green chillies and 1 tsp salt in a blender, then add a little of the buttermilk. Blitz, then drain the cashews and melon seeds, add to the blender and blitz again to form a smooth paste. Add a little more buttermilk if needed. Set aside.

    Pumpkin Curry Steps 3 and 4

  • 4

    Heat the oil in a large saucepan or casserole dish. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and the dried chilli(es), then cook until they start to sizzle and pop. Add the curry leaves and nut paste, then stir-fry over a medium high heat for a few minutes. Add the rest of the buttermilk, the beans, and the chard stalks.

    Pumpkin curry Steps 5 through 7

  • 5

    Cook for around 5 minutes, then add the chard leaves and the roasted pumpkin. Simmer for a few minutes until the vegetables are tender and the sauce thick and creamy.

    pumpkin step 9

  • 6

    Serve sprinkled with fresh coriander and lime wedges to squeeze over.

    pumpkin post image 2



By Elly McCausland on 04.11.13

Guest Contributor

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