Pumpkin Curry will be your favorite exotic taste of Fall!
This Thai Pumpkin Curry recipe is Fall (and heaven!) on plate! It is lusciously creamy with an intoxicating pumpkin, coconut, red curry sauce spiked with basil, garlic and ginger, loaded with squash, sweet potatoes, zucchini and apples all brightened by tangy lime juice and sweet coconut flakes. This comforting, warm, fragrant Chicken Pumpkin Curry is completely customizable – use your favorite veggies or favorite protein, then dish it up with rice, zoodles, noodles, or quinoa; no matter how you serve it, you are going to LOVE this Pumpkin Curry recipe!
Thai Pumpkin Curry
It hasn’t felt much like Fall here in San Diego with our recent heat wave but this past week Fall finally breezed through my kitchen and brought with it the most comforting Pumpkin Curry to ever grace my lips.
This Thai Pumpkin Curry recipe is inspired by my Fall in a bowl Thai Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato, Carrot Soup. It is so bursting with flavor and so creamy that I needed an excuse to eat it more ways than only soup. – enter sensational Thai Pumpkin Curry!
You are going to love this Pumpkin Curry bursting with butternut squash, sweet potatoes, zucchini, and apples all stir fried with red curry, ginger, and garlic creating layers of soft, tender crisp, and crunchy textures, layers of multidimensional Thai flavors, all creamified with pumpkin puree and coconut milk., brightened by refreshing lime, sweet coconut flakes and fresh cilantro.
Thai Pumpkin Curry AKA Fall on a plate. It’s going to be a delicious Fall. I hope you join me!
Pumpkin CURRY INGREDIENTS
The recipe ingredient for this Pumpkin Curry recipe might look lengthy but I promise the recipe is super simple – you are basically sautéing your chicken, veggies then dumping in the rest of the ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
- pumpkin puree: take care you are using pumpkin puree and NOT pumpkin pie filling because they are not the same thing. Pumpkin puree is cooked and pureed pumpkin without any added sugar or spices. Pumpkin Pie filling, however, is sweetened and seasoned with Fall spices. I use one can of Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin puree.
- red curry paste: red curry paste packs a huge flavor punch because its made of finely ground coriander, peppercorns, Kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves, cilantro, shallot, garlic, and fresh chiles – all combined for you. Note that some curry brands are spicier than others. If you are using a more mild brand like Thai Kitchen then I would start with 1/4 cup curry paste. If you are using a spicier brand like Mae Ploy, I would start with 2 tablespoons. You can add more curry paste to taste once the soup is simmering or add sriracha to taste at the end of cooking.
- Aromatics: onions, ginger and garlic elevate the Thai Pumpkin Curry flavor profile and are essential to all curries. If you are feeling extra lazy, you can substitute the fresh ingredients with powders. The typical rule of thumb is 3:1, so one part dried to three parts fresh.
- Coconut milk: my favorite coconut milk brand is Chakoah. I love it so much that when my grocery store stopped carrying it, I started purchasing it on Amazon! Chakoah is creamier than any other brand I’ve tried by FAR and therefore results in the most luscious Pumpkin Curry.
- Chicken: use either chicken breasts or chicken thighs in this Chicken Pumpkin Curry. I like to slice the chicken into 1/8” thick by 2-inch long pieces. This ensures the chicken is thin enough for the curry paste to infuse it with flavor and thick enough that it doesn’t overcook. You may also chop into bite size pieces if you prefer.
- Vegetables: squash, sweet potatoes and zucchini pair beautifully in this Pumpkin Curry.
- Fish sauce: this will not make your Chicken Pumpkin Curry taste fishy but is essential for authentic Thai flavor. If you are vehemently opposed to using fish sauce, you may substitute with soy sauce.
- Soy sauce: use low sodium soy sauce so you can control the saltiness of the curry.
- Lime juice: you may use fresh or bottled lime juice.
- Asian hot chili sauce: use sriracha a or Asian hot chili paste to taste. It is easy to add more at the end of cooking, so feel free to be conservative then add more to taste.
Do you have to use full-fat coconut milk?
I don’t insist on full fat coconut milk but I HIGHLY suggest it if you would like restaurant-style creamy, flavorful Thai Pumpkin Curry. If you must use light coconut milk, I suggest adding an additional 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch to help thicken it up.
HOW TO MAKE PUMPKIN PUREE
You are welcome to use your own fresh pumpkin as opposed to canned in this Pumpkin Curry recipe. My only caution is that you cannot use a carving pumpkin (like the pumpkin you carve for Halloween), but need to use a sugar pumpkin. Carving pumpkins are raised for their durability and not their taste and have much more moisture than sugar pumpkins and less flavor.
How to make Pumpkin Puree:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Cut the pumpkin in half from the stem to base.
- Remove all the seeds and pulp.
- Cover the cut side of each pumpkin half with foil.
- Bake, foil side up for 1 hour OR until tender.
- Scrape out pumpkin flesh and add to a blender
- Strain puree through a fine mesh sieve to remove any stringy pieces
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
What Other Protein Can I use in Pumpkin Curry?
- Chicken: I love chicken to make Chicken Pumpkin Curry because it is easy, economical and I always have it on hand. You can even use leftover rotisserie chicken and add it to the skillet along with the garlic and ginger.
- Shrimp: shrimp loves curry and would be fabulous in the Pumpkin Curry recipe. Cook the shrimp for just a couple minutes on each side then remove it to a plate. Add it back to the curry at the very end to warm through.
- Pork: use pork tenderloin for the most tender results. Chop the pork into bite size pieces treat it like you would the chicken.
- Beef: Top sirloin or other prime cuts of beef would be fabulous in this Thai Pumpkin Curry. Take care not to overcook so it remains buttery tender.
CAN I MAKE THIS VEGETARIAN Pumpkin CURRY?
Absolutely! You can replace the chicken with extra-firm tofu or replace the chicken with extra vegetables.
WHAT OTHER VEGETABLES GO WITH Pumpkin CURRY?
I love making this Pumpkin Curry with Fall vegetables such squash, sweet potatoes and zucchini. That being said, you can customize this curry recipe with a number of different vegetables:
- green beans
- bell peppers
- bok choy
- snow peas
How to Make Pumpkin Curry
Step 1: Cook Chicken
- Saute chicken just until opaque, approximately 1 minute. It does not need to be cooked all the way through because it will return to the sauce later to finish cooking. Remove chicken to a separate plate.
Step 2: Bloom Curry
- Saute red curry, ginger and garlic with some oil. This simple step unlocks the full flavor of the curry and helps the flavors “bloom.”
Step 3: Saute Veggies
- Add squash, sweet potatoes, apple, pumpkin, onion, and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and continue to saute over medium high heat for 10 minutes. This infuses the veggies with flavor as they soak up the curry goodness.
Step 4: Simmer Sauce
- Add coconut milk, chicken broth, zucchini, brown sugar, fish sauce, basil, and return the chicken back to the pan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 15 -20 minutes or until squash and sweet potatoes are tender and flavors have melded.
Step 5: Finishing Touches
- Stir in 2 tablespoons lime juice, taste and add sriracha, salt and pepper to taste. Top individual serving with toasted coconut and cilantro.
HOW TO CUSTOMIZE Pumpkin CURRY?
In addition to using whatever protein or veggies you would like, you can customize the FLAVOR of this Pumpkin Curry. It can be made spicy, not spicy, sweet or more savory, more or less tangy, with or without coconut.
Here is how to adjust Thai Pumpkin Curry to make it perfect for YOU:
- Want sweeter pumpkin curry? Add more brown sugar
- Want saltier pumpkin curry? Add more fish sauce or soy sauce
- Want tangier pumpkin curry? Add more lime juice
- Want spicier pumpkin curry? Add more chili sauce
- Want thinner pumpkin curry? Add chicken broth
- Want thicker pumpkin curry? Add a cornstarch slurry
- Want more crunch? Add cashews, peanuts or chickpeas
CAN I MAKE Chicken Pumpkin CURRY AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes, please do! This Chicken Pumpkin Curry tastes even better the next day and reheats beautifully so it’s wonderful for meal prep or on-the-go lunches.
HOW LONG IS Thai Pumpkin CURRY GOOD FOR?
Thai Pumpkin Curry should be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When stored properly, it is good for up to five days.
CAN I PREP COCONUT CURRY IN ADVANCE?
Absolutely! You can chop your chicken, aromatics and vegetables all in advance and store them in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator until ready to use. You will want to keep the sweet potatoes submerged in water or else the will turn brown.
You can even whisk all of the pumpkin curry sauce ingredients together and refrigerate in an airtight container.
CAN I FREEZE Pumpkin Curry?
The Pumpkin Curry sauce freezes well because the base of the sauce is coconut milk and pumpkin instead of dairy. The only issues you might have with freezing your curry is the texture of the vegetables: zucchini can become mushy and sweet potatoes become grainy. If you are making this Pumpkin Curry specifically to freeze then select vegetables that freeze better such as cauliflower, carrots, corn, etc.
WHAT SHOULD I SERVE WITH Pumpkin CURRY?
This Pumpkin Curry is a complete meal-in-one loaded with tons of veggies! It just needs s simple side of side of rice to absorb the rich, robust sauce. It is delicious with:
- jasmine rice, basmati rice, or brown rice
- low carb options of cauliflower rice or broccoli rice
- low carb spaghetti squash or zoodles
- naan or roti bread
- simple green salad
- fruit such as mangos, oranges, kiwis
LOOKING FOR MORE THAI RECIPES?
- Peanut Pineapple Thai Chicken Satay
- Thai Coconut Curry Chicken
- Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Thai Chicken Pizza
- Thai Pineapple Chicken Stir Fry
- Thai Orange Peanut Chicken
- Thai Coconut Chicken Rice Soup
- Thai Peanut Dressing
- Thai Peanut Orange Chicken
- Thai Peanut Beef and Broccoli
- Thai Chicken Tacos
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