Nov 08

Pumpkin Curry with Prawns






When there is a chill in the air I usually cook one of two things as a remedy: Soup or Curry. Soups are typically thick, comforting and of a vegetable base, sometimes it’s cauliflower + bacon, sometimes it is classic leeks + potatoes. Quite often in the fall, R. asks for pumpkin soup because he just loves it, and I do both versions … the regular kind and the Thai kind. More often than not the spicy Thai version is what ends up being served because it is indeed very delicious and bursting with southeast Asian flavours.


Back home, soups were always clear broth. Having thick creamy soup was rare, and if we did it was always a treat, and it came in a can labelled Campbell’s™.Over the years Mum started adding extra things to our pot of soup to make a more substantial dinner on days when she did not feel like cooking fussy meals. She’d add chicken, potatoes and carrots and suddenly voila! We weren’t having just soup anymore … we had chicken stew! Then the soup started finding its way into pie fillings, casseroles and pasta bakes, and I guess this was my earliest building blocks to my culinary skills. I did not know it at the time but I payed attention to food even at a young age, albeit subconsciously.


Looking back I think I have always been naturally drawn to food and how it cooked. I remember watching my mother put a pot of corn to boil on the stove and after she left the kitchen I leaned in to smell the wonderful aroma coming from the steam vent. Inevitably, I burnt the skin off my nose. I was five or six years old, but I did not shed a single tear coz I was more concerned of what my mother would do to me if she found out I had been dangerously close to the stove unsupervised. In the end she was cool about it and simply went into the back garden to cut a blade off the aloe vera plant and smeared it all over the scalded spot. I was as good as new!



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Mum would also be a very frugal cook, she made us three meals every single day and did not waste anything. Where possible, she would reuse any leftover ingredients and turn it into a new dish, and I think this is the same frugal food philosophy that I follow today. Not that I can’t afford to eat something new every day (my university days are long behind me), but because I hate waste.


So I made a huge pot of pumpkin soup the other day and instead of shoving it down the throat of the boyfriend for a second night in a row, I turned it into this yummy prawn curry.





Pumpkin Curry with Prawns.

300 g pumpkin

2 medium potatoes

2 stalks lemongrass

1 medium onion

2 cloves garlic

8 kaffir lime leaves

1 inch ginger root

2 large red chillies

½ can coconut milk

1 tbsp Thai red curry paste

1 cup water or vegetable broth

1 tsp ground cumin

salt and pepper

bunch of fresh coriander leaves.

1 cup string beans

8 – 10 large grey prawns, shells and tails removed

1 shallot

1 clove garlic



To make the pumpkin soup, first chuck the onion, chilli garlic, lemon grass, lime leaves and ginger in a blender. Pulse until you get a fine chop.


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Saute in a pot with some oil until fragrant. Then add the Thai red curry paste and continue sauteing.


Add water and coconut milk, stir to distribute ingredients evenly.


Dump in all the potatoes and pumpkin, add salt, pepper, cumin. Bring to the boil then let it simmer on low for about 30 mins.


Once the potatoes and pumpkin are soft, use an immersion stick blender to blitz everything into a fine thick soup. Garnish with coriander leaves and that’s your soup dinner done.  Save any leftovers in the fridge and the next day you can make prawn curry.



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For the extra bits to make this a prawn curry, simply saute shallots, garlic, beans and prawns in a small pan. Ladle some of the cold pumpkin soup into the pan and simmer gently to warm everything through, and to cook the beans until tender. Garnish with coriander and taa-daa!! New dish by simply adding four new ingredients.



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This trully makes a one dish meal ~ you’ve got your veggies and proteins all in one. Serve with rice and you have your carbs sorted … a well balanced meal in a flash. Great for when I am too tired to cook anything else and when I have stuff to get rid of in my fridge. If you don’t have beans then you can add any other veggie you like … spinach or kale is a good choice too. Not a fan of dark leafy greens? Then chuck in some chickpeas or split lentils. That’s dinner sorted.



~ Enjoy! ~





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