This is deliciously creamy and rich, with layers of flavour. What it isn’t, though, is authentic. It’s definitely in the ‘shameless fusion food’ category. I wanted to make a curry based on a recipe by kitchen goddess extraordinaire, Nigella Lawson. Thank you, Holly, for introducing me to it. Nigella’s version uses salmon, but this has mangetout instead, for a lighter dish. Nigella flavours hers with Thai red curry paste, but I couldn’t find any in my neighbourhood. So this is shameless indeed – flavoured with curry powder, but also the wonderful combo of fish sauce and lime juice to add zing. I skipped the sugar though, as the pumpkin adds enough sweetness of its own. Oh yes, if you replace the fish sauce with salt, this is a great vegan dish.
(serves 3 or 4)
700 gr pumpkin (peeled and cubed weight: about 1 kg whole)
3 waxy potatoes, in chunks
2 onions, peeled and sliced
200 gr mangetout or sugar snaps
400 ml coconut milk, preferably the kind that separates out
1 clove of garlic, grated or finely chopped
1 tsp of ginger root, grated or finely chopped
2 tbsp Thai red curry paste, or 1 tsp curry powder plus 1 tsp peanut oil
handful of coriander leaves, torn
Heat a wok or a large deep frying pan till it is medium hot. Add the curry paste, or the powder plus the oil. Stir around for a few seconds, now add the ginger and garlic. Stir again, then add the onion and about four tbsps of the thick part of the coconut milk. Turn the heat down and allow to bubble for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the rest of the coconut, the potato, the pumpkin and some salt. Add a little water to cover if necessary. Bring up to the boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover with a lid. Leave a wooden spoon sticking out of the pan so that some of the steam can escape. If you dont have a large enough lid, use an upturned frying pan or carefully cover with foil.
Simmer for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, steam or boil the mangetout in a little salted water for 2 or 3 minutes so that they retain some bite.
When the pumpkin and potato are cooked, lift them out of the coconut sauce and bring the sauce up to the boil. Reduce until it is thickened to a creamy sauce. Turn down the heat and season with the fish sauce (or salt) and lime juice to taste. Add the pumpkin, potato and mangetout and carefully combine with the suace. Allow to heat through.
Serve hot, sprinkled with coriander.