Indonesian Pumpkin Curry

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Pumpkin is a common vegetable here, so I’ve learned how to make a variety of things with it. Actually not much variety – mostly soups that are a lot like this. Most of the time I use a packaged Thai curry paste instead of making a spice paste myself, but this recipe includes directions for an Indonesian style of spice paste. Thai and Indonesian foods have some similar flavors and both ways of making the soup taste delicious.

I found this recipe in a wonderful cookbook called “Southeast Asian Food”. It was a wedding present from my friend Katie and it’s been so useful because most of the ingredients are available here. The original recipe included meat, so I’ve adjusted it a little.

I really enjoyed using my new mortar and pestle from Thailand. It’s smaller than my Lao one, but it’s made of stone, so it’s better at grinding dry ingredients. I think the Lao kind is better for large batches of spicy sauces (cheo) and papaya salad.

First make the spice paste by crushing these spices together in a mortar and pestle in the following order:

  • 1 t whole coriander seed
  • 7 thai red chilies, sliced (this was quite hot, you could use 3 and still have plenty of flavor)
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 8 almonds
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 5 shalots
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • 1/4 t ground cumin

Heat the 2 T oil in a medium saucepan and briefly fry the spice paste.

Add everything else and simmer over low heat until the pumpkin is very soft (about an hour).

  • 1 t salt
  • 1 C broth
  • 2 thin slices galangal root
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 3/4 C coconut milk
  • 1 kilo (2 pounds) pumpkin meat (seeded, peeled, and cubed)

Serve over rice and top with fresh lime juice.

serves 6-8

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