Wednesday, November 3, 2010

David Memmott's Red Coconut Pumpkin Curry

Our first guest pumpkin chef blogger. Do you have a pumpkin recipe you'd like to share? Contact me and I'm more than willing to share the pumpkin limelight. Take it away, David.

To take pumpkin in an unexpected direction, try a nice Thai coconut curry to warm your insides on cold days. Years ago I took a Thai cooking class and learned a simple form of this dish using salmon as the main ingredient. Since then I’ve tried chicken and shrimp. Four years ago I was visiting my brother in a small town in southeastern Idaho. It was fall and he took me to a little hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant and I was surprised when they brought out a red coconut pumpkin curry. They were using local ingredients that were in season. That’s when I realized that this dish could go beyond our expectation when gazing at the menus in Thai restaurants. Since then I’ve made it with sweet potato and butternut squash but not yet pumpkin. 

Joanne provided a Japanese type pumpkin, which seemed like the appropriate choice. Overall it turned out great but in order to speed up the cooking time I cut off the top of the pumpkin and popped it in the microwave for 10 mins. I wouldn’t recommend this. The meat got too soft so I threw it under the broiler to get some browning. If you make this don’t try to cut corners. Cube, season and toss the pumpkin in a little oil or melted butter. Then roast it in the oven at 425 for 20 -25 mins. That’ll enhance its sweetness and be well worth the time.

Red Coconut Pumpkin Curry

1 tablespoon red or green curry paste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 clove garlic - minced
2 cans coconut milk
2 lemon grass stalks
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
salt to taste
1-2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 can bamboo shoots - julienned (Drain and boil in water for 5 mins to take away the tin taste.)
1 red bell pepper - julienned 
1 lb pumpkin - chunked and roasted or sauteed to get nice caramelization
1 small jalapeno
1 tablespoon sugar
Thai basil or cilantro

Heat oil in large nonstick pan. Add curry paste and stir. (make sure the pan and oil aren't too hot or the paste will send up fumes and make it hard to breath.) Add garlic and let cook for 1 min. Add coconut milk and lemon grass stalks and bring to simmer. Skim off any skin that forms on the surface. Add cumin, coriander and fish sauce. Add bamboo shoots and continue to simmer for and few minutes then add red pepper and pumpkin and sugar. Finally add the jalapeno and turn off heat. Squeeze in half of the lime juice garnish with torn basil leaves and lime wedges. Serve over rice.

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