Spicy Pumpkin and Peanut Curry

November 22nd, 2009  |  Published in All, Around the World, Cilantro / Coriander, Garlic, Ginger, Honorable Herbs, Nuanced Nuts, Squash, Succulent Spices, Veritable Vegetables, Weekend Projects  |  12 Comments

Spicy Pumpkin and Peanut Curry

I am back!  Back to cooking, back to blogging, back to the USA, back to San Francisco!

Steven and I returned from our 10 month German adventure at the beginning of November, and have been doing all the things people do when they return to a place they have missed dearly.  I’ve been visiting with family and friends, eating at my favorite restaurants, shopping at my favorite grocery store, jogging along the waterfront, and of course visiting the farmer’s market.

The first saturday we were back I convinced Steven to go to the Palo Alto farmer’s market with me by offering to stop along the way for oh-so-tasty and impossible-to-find-in-Germany breakfast sandwiches.  Eggs.  Bacon.  Cheese.  Bagel.  One would think this delicious combination would be America’s #1 export!

At the market, colorful, plump winter squash were stacked high on vendors’ tables along with whole stalks of brussels sprouts, baseball-sized pomegranates, and all sorts of pears and apples.  What a bounty!  Always a squash lover, I decided to pick up a sugar pie pumpkin.  It’s one of my favorites since it has a wonderful flavor that’s not too sweet, has a good texture, and is fairly easy to peel and carve.  I also picked up some fresh hot red chiles, cilantro, and torpedo onions since I had this curry in mind.  I love coconut milk based curries, and this somewhat unusual one with pumpkin is no exception.  It’s rich and flavorful, a little sweet, a little spicy, but not too heavy since it is brimming with vegetables.  Served atop brown rice, it’s substantial enough for a meal in itself, though it would also be lovely in a spread with other curries, raitas, noodles, etc.  Squash is in peak season right now too, so it’s a great time to try this.

On a totally different note, thanks for sticking with me while I dropped off the face of the planet during our move! :)  and Happy Thanksgiving!

Spicy Pumpkin and Peanut Curry

1 c. water
1/3 c. chunky peanut butter
zest and juice from 1 lime
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. tomato paste

Olive oil
4 medium red torpedo onions, cut into 1-2 inch chunks (or substitute 2 medium red onions)
1 medium sugar pie pumpkin, peeled, deseeded, and cut into 2-3 inch chunks

2 large handfuls cilantro, chopped, divided
2 fresh red chiles, finely diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 400ml can coconut milk
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Mix together the water, peanut butter, lime zest and juice, soy sauce, and tomato paste in a bowl and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet (14 inch) or a chef’s pan over medium high heat, then add the onions and saute until softened and the edges are beginning to brown, 4-5 minutes.  Add the pumpkin and stir fry for about 4-5 minutes.  Add half the cilantro, chiles, garlic, and garlic, and stir fry for about 2 minutes.  Add the coconut milk and peanut mixture and stir until well mixed.  Loosely cover with tinfoil, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer until the pumpkin is tender and the sauce has thickened, about 15-20 minutes.  Add more water if the sauce becomes too thick, or boil vigorously if the sauce is too thin towards the end.

Serve with rice and garnish with the other half of the cilantro and the chopped peanuts.  Enjoy!
(Note:  This curry goes particularly well with Half Moon Bay Brewing Company’s Pumpkin Harvest Ale!)

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