Just one bite of this fragrant fresh pumpkin curry brings me back to the Afghan restaurants my Taster and I loved when we lived near Washington DC. This recipe uses spices from the Persian classic kadu: ginger, garlic, coriander, and hot pepper. My version uses about half the oil used in most kadu recipes and no sugar. I also added chickpeas so it makes a complete meal when served with green salad and flatbread or rice. Top Persian Pumpkin Curry with Garlic Cashew Cream and a dash of fresh green mint or chives. If you don't have a cooking pumpkin, use a butternut squash.
Persian Pumpkin Curry with Chickpeas
Active time: approximately 45 minutes. Total time: 65 minutes. Yield: 6 servings. Vegan. Gluten free when served with rice or other gluten-free sides.
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 medium cooking pumpkin or butternut squash (about 2 1/4 pounds or 1 kilogram)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle
- 1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas (328 grams)
- 1 cup chickpea broth, vegetable broth, or water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- fresh mint or chives for garnish
Garlic Cashew Cream
- 1/2 cup Cashew Cream
- 1/2 clove garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- pinch salt
- Peel and quarter onion. Process in a food processor fitted with the stainless steel blade until it is nearly smooth, about 1 minute on high. Heat oil in large pot over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion turns golden brown, about 20 minutes.
- If you don't already have it on hand, start making Cashew Cream so cashews can soften while you tackle the pumpkin. (Just rinse traces of onion out the food processor with water. A little onion flavor won't hurt this sauce.)
- If you are starting with a whole pumpkin, scrub it, cut it in half, and scrape out the seeds and goop. If seeds are large, save them to roast using another recipe.
- Peel pumpkin, then cut it into cubes about 1/2 inch across. If you'd rather simmer the curry longer and chop less, then cut pumpkin into pieces up to 2 inches across.
- Mince garlic and ginger, then put in small bowl with coriander, turmeric, and chipotle so you can add them to the onion mixture all at once. Open tomato can and measure chickpeas and broth.
- When onion is golden brown, stir in spice mixture and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, chickpeas, and broth. Stir in pumpkin. Bring pumpkin mixture to a boil over high heat, then cover and reduce heat so mixture barely boils. Simmer until pumpkin is fork-tender but still cube-shaped, about 20 minutes for small cubes or 45 minutes for larger ones. (The photo shows that I cooked mine about 5 minutes too long, so some of the cubes had turned to sauce.)
- To finish Garlic Cashew Cream, combine Cashew Cream, garlic, apple cider vinegar, and salt in a food processor fitted with the stainless-steel blade. Process on high until smooth, about 1 minute. Allow flavors to develop for 5 minutes, then taste and adjust seasonings. (If you wind up with an extra half clove of garlic, mince it and stir into pumpkin.)
- Taste Persian Pumpkin Curry and adjust seasonings. Serve hot topped with Garlic Cashew Cream, chopped mint, or chives. Keeps refrigerated for four days or frozen for up to a year.
Tips and Notes
- Peeling pumpkin safely. Edible Earthscapes included half pumpkins in their CSA boxes on Saturday. I rinsed it well, scooped out the seeds, and then put it cut-side down to peel. If your cutting board isn't stable, put a kitchen towel under it so it doesn't move. Always cut away from yourself.
- Cooking pumpkins. Use a moschata (Long Island Cheese pumpkin) or a maxima (Candy Roaster or Blue Hubbard), but not a stringy, watery pepo (Halloween pumpkin). Save the pepos for purees and soups.