Sugar pumpkins are the kind that get made into pies because their flesh is quite tender and sweet. Squash can be stored for several months so I picked my pumpkins back in October. But ideally, you want to eat your pumpkins when the stems are still green.
The first pumpkin was smaller so I just quartered it; sprinkled butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon; and baked it.
This time around, I decided to make pumpkin curry.
This soup is inspired by Thai curries that I've gotten in restaurants but isn't quite as thick. Not sure how much Vietnamese influence it has either, except for the addition of fish sauce. Vietnamese tend to eat curry with French bread for dipping, but rice will do as well.
Pumpkin Curry with Shrimp and Bamboo Shoots
For a 2-quart pot, you'll need:
2 cups pumpkin, cubed (Pumpkin should be peeled, seeds scraped, cubed. Extras can be frozen. Butternut or kabocha squash can also be substituted.)
1 13.5-oz can coconut milk
1 can water (I add water to the empty coconut milk can to use up the rest of the milk.)
1 cup bamboo shoots
1 medium onion, diced
2-inch piece of lemongrass, minced
1 small finger of ginger (about 1-inch), minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 dozen or so shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail-on or off according to preference
1 large lemon, juiced (Ideally, if you can get it, kaffir limes and their leaves are used.)
1 tblsp Thai curry paste of your choice (Mine has chili and lemongrass as part of the ingredients, but more never hurts.)
Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce), to taste
Peel and devein shrimp. Add a dash or two of salt to shrimp and set aside.
Saute onion, garlic, and lemongrass in olive oil until softened and fragrant. Add the rest of the ingredients, except shrimp, and turn heat down to medium-low to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until pumpkin is softened.
Add shrimp and stir curry. Shrimp should turn pink and cook very quickly.
Spoon over rice.
Now, what do you do with all those scraped out pumpkin seeds? I dried out a portion to plant next year's crop. If I'm only getting two pumpkins a plant, I may need to plant more than one...
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Seeds from pumpkin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Optional: Add cinnamon
Place seeds in colander and rinse thoroughly, picking out any stray pumpkin bits. Allow seeds to drain, but it's OK if they're still a bit wet.
Spray or lightly oil a baking sheet. Add seeds. Sprinkle about 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of sugar and mix thoroughly.
Bake at 325 degrees for half an hour or until pumpkin seeds are all toasty. The slight sugar/salt coating is reminiscent of kettle popcorn.
The outer shell was pretty thin so after a few unsuccessful attempts of breaking them open cleanly, I popped one in my mouth and chewed it whole. Yummy! Almost exactly like kettle popcorn.