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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Pumpkins Curry with Shrimp and Bamboo Shoots and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

I pretty much harvested everything I could from my garden before the cold weather set in. This pumpkin was one of only two that grew from my sugar pumpkin plant. One plant for 89 cents, two sugar pumpkins. Not a bad investment.

Pumpkin Curry 1

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 2

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

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds 

You'll need:
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.



  1. First, you have harvested a good nice "unbruised" pumpkin! You're very creative, to make Thai-inspired pumpkin curry. I don't really have much experience handling pumpkin. I got a free pumpkin when I was in Half Moon Bay for some pumpkin related festival some months back. The pumpkin physically sat on my carpet for many weeks, and I did not know what to do with it. :O

  2. That's very creative. The pumpkin and shrimp curry looks killer...now about the seeds...I never know you can eat them. Very cool!

  3. Tigerfish,
    If the skin is good, you might still be able to eat it! Well, unless it was meant for carving jack 'o lanterns. That's another kind of pumpkin.

    Have you tried pepitas? They're pumpkin seeds that are already shelled. Henry's Market in Costa Mesa sells them by the pound. So much tastier than sunflower seeds.

  4. WOW!!! I am more amazed with the toasted seed than the curry! HAHA! I usually throw all the seed away..didn't know i can churn it into tidbits! Cool!! Really cool!

    And I will start growing my own pumpkin too! I got a small gardening plot behind my house (nothing compared to yours) and i have some baby tomatoes coming up too!

  5. PP,
    Not churning into tidbits. Just eat the inside of the seeds. Crack them open like sunflower seeds.

    I've got two kinds of tomatoes growing too! Can't wait until they bear fruit.


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