From the food editor: A recipe for Pumpkin Curry, a go-to easy meal

The spiced sauce is endlessly adaptable.
Pumpkin Curry. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
Pumpkin Curry. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
Published December 31 2018

I’ve written about curry, the Indian dish that refers to a specific combination of spices and is usually served in sauce form over rice and other things as a quick way to get something flavorful on the table.

I usually start with curry powder and coconut milk, and the rest of the additions vary here and there. Pumpkin may be my favorite of all.

It adds a lot to this dish: color, turning the sauce a vibrant orange; texture, thickening things up without the addition of flour or cornstarch; and flavor, bringing just a tad more depth to the party.

Pumpkin is also quite good for you — it’s usually the things we add it to, like muffins and sugary lattes, that are not — so it’ll factor in nicely to your New Year’s eating habits. Even canned pumpkin (which is what I use for this recipe, so easy) is loaded with vitamins like iron, vitamin A and potassium.

This is one of those recipes that is more a guide than a strict list to be followed. Start with the listed ingredients, but experiment with the flavors and what you like best. I like my curry just spicy enough to taste it but not enough that the spice lingers too long in your mouth. I find that a combination of red pepper flakes and sriracha helps get this job done. I also like to stir in a tablespoon of peanut butter, but that will change the flavor profile just slightly.

My go-to veg for this meal is cauliflower, which complements the Indian flavors nicely. I make it often with the vegans in the family, with lots of rice and some crunchy nuts and fresh cilantro on top.

Curry keeps well in the fridge or freezer, too — though I don’t think you’ll have much left.

Pumpkin Curry

Olive oil

2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon ginger, minced

1 ½ tablespoons curry powder

1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk

⅓ cup canned pumpkin

Salt

Pepper

Red pepper flakes

Sriracha

Brown rice, cooked

Vegetables or chicken, cooked and roughly chopped

Fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add garlic and ginger and stir until quite fragrant and starting to brown. Add curry powder and stir, cooking for about 30 seconds.

Add coconut milk to the pan and stir well, scraping up all those bits of spices stuck to the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, stirring often to incorporate spices with the coconut milk, then lower heat so it’s at a constant simmer.

Stir in canned pumpkin, then season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and sriracha to taste. I usually add about 1 teaspoon sauce to start.

Taste curry and adjust spice level. Let simmer for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Serve over cooked rice and vegetables.

Serves 3 to 4.

Source: Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times

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