Coconut-Pumpkin Curry

I’m as tired as anyone of people talking about how freaked out/cosmically grateful they are that it was 60 degrees this afternoon in New York City, and I don’t really want to contribute to that particular conversation, but, well, I can’t stop myself.

How in the world was it 60 degrees in New York today?

Yesterday, I stepped out for lunch and didn’t take my coat with me.  Today, I showed up to a meeting and was asked, “Can I take your coat?” And my reply was, “I didn’t wear one!”  I didn’t even have a coat!

This is not the place where I’m going to wonder about how little time the Adelie Penguins have left, or wish that it wasn’t so easy to see just how dramatic the Arctic sea ice downward trend is this year, or explain how I lie awake with worry about the High Elevation White Pines.  Should we be taking Kishmish and Pista to the Maldive Islands and to the glaciers of Alaska before both are impossible? Or should we be avoiding air travel completely? What is their world going to look like in 50 years — or even in 5 years?

I’ll avoid going down that path. Instead, I’ll offer this thought: What is going to happen when January days are short, and the sun hardly comes out. . . but it’s 70 degrees in the afternoon? My theory is that, for reasons that won’t seem quite clear, we’ll still feel the urge to warm our hands on a bowl of soup, and the aroma of a stew/soup/curry will still seem oddly comforting. Even on days like today, when we threw open all the windows, when I broke a little sweat cooking dinner.

I was inspired to make a pumpkin and coconut curry when I saw this recipe on Broke-Ass Gourmet — but I didn’t have any of the ingredients in the original recipe, and I don’t eat beef. Also, I thought peanuts would be good in this. Finally, I don’t why this happened, but the squash didn’t stay in nice cubes like I thought it would; it got soft melted into the sauce, giving it a nice golden color. Perfect!

Coconut-Pumpkin Curry

If you just want to make the sauce, without seitan, it makes a nice, extremely rich sauce. The girls ate it mixed with rice, and they loved it.  I thought the sauce was nice with seitan, and served over kale. It’s a rich and pretty fool-proof sauce, I think!

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or any other cooking oil)
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger, or ginger paste
  • 3-4 shishito peppers (or any other not-too-spicy peppers), slit open
  • handful of curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 cups pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 cup ground peanuts
  • 1 package of seitan, cut into pieces

Heat the coconut oil in a heavy-bottom pan. Add the onion and cook until soft. Then add the ginger, peppers, and curry leaves. Finally add the ground peanuts and mix everything together. If the mixture starts to stick, add a little water.

Add the coconut milk and pumpkin/squash, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, covered, until the pumpkin is soft (or, you know, totally disintegrated — yum….).

Finally, add the seitan and heat through.

Serve over kale or rice. It’s also great with chilli pickle. (I mean, what isn’t?  Chilli pickle is my sriracha sauce.)


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