Sunday, November 11, 2012

Rustic Pumpkin and Red Lentil Curry with Coconut Milk

I watched  a little cartoon about factory farm last week and now I have a problem with meat, especially with pork. I am going back to only eat fish and vegetable for awhile. My sister and family went to Europe this weekend. She left me 2 beautiful pie pumpkins. This is also the perfect time to use these seasonal squashes. I wanted curry today. Pumpkin curry just seem to blend, I added lentil and also coconut milk, just a touch of Southeast Asian that I grew up with. This is a very simple dish. The most time consuming part would be peeling the pumpkin. You can use other squash if you like. To save time during the week, you can peel the squash, cut it up and store in a Ziplock bag in the fridge, or you can get prepared squash package at your grocer too.

When my mother was visiting, we made chicken curry one weekend. A few tricks I learned about making curry:
1 - Don't skimp on the curry powder, however it is a fine balance, experiment with it, your tastebuds will tell you how much you need.
2 - Use a good curry powder. When you open the jar, you should smell the fragrant of the spices.
3- Always toast the curry powder.
4 - Add coconut milk at the end of the cooking, your sauce will be creamier and will not curdle.

If you would like to make this vegan, just use olive oil instead of ghee.

Pumpkin and Red Lentil Curry with Coconut Milk
1 small pie pumpkin. Pulp removed, peeled and cut into 1" pieces, make about 5 cups.
1 large onion - cut into 1/2 " pieces
2 tbsp ghee or olive oil 
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp prepared minced lemon grass
2 tbsp curry powder, using Maharajah blend from Penzey's today (my favorite)
1 cup red lentil,rinsed
5 cup vegetable stock
1 can light coconut milk. (Optional): save 1/8 cup for garnish
salt and pepper
Green onion for garnish (optional)

In a dutch oven or large pot, heat 2 tbsp of ghee. Add ginger, garlic and onion, cook for a few mins
 over med high heat.
 Add lemon grass, cook till the onion is translucent
 Add curry powder
 Let it toast over med heat for3-4 mins. It will appear very dry.
 Stir in pumpkin. Stir well and let it cook for a few min.
 Add lentil. Combine.
Pour in stock. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to med low. Cover and let it simmer for 20 mins till the lentil is softened
Add coconut milk. Let it cook for addition 10 min till the pumpkin is tender.
Season with salt and pepper. Plate the curry in a bowl, drizzle each bowl with 1 tsp of coconut and finally sliced green onion for color

Make 8 hearty entrees. The curry freezes very well. Separate it into individual containers with the portion that you would use and reheat as needed. Serve with naan or rice.


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