Saturday, September 17, 2011

Twitter Avatar Fun: Nigella's pumpkin seafood curry

CSA pumpkins...aren't they cute?!
Phew, September is already half over, and I've yet to change my Twitter avatar! This month's chef was chosen by Marthe, and she picked Nigella Lawson, another chef I've heard a lot about but have never tried.

Looking for a dinner recipe that would please the family and use up some of these CSA veggies that continue to overwhelm my kitchen, I stumbled across this recipe for Thai yellow pumpkin and seafood curry. It's not the most Twitter-avatar-friendly picture, but hey, you can't win 'em all, right? =)

I ended up making a ton of changes...not my original intention at all, but just because I was rushing to cook this after a busy day at the Renaissance Festival and texting hubby who I'd sent on an emergency trip the grocery store. In other words, a typical evening at my house! =) I used a different kind of chili paste because it was in the fridge, and had to sub in veggie stock because I didn't have any fish stock. My pumpkin ended up getting a little overcooked because hubby unknowingly chose shrimp that had to be deshelled, which took longer than anticipated. And I tossed in a bunch of extra veggies because we needed to use them up and I thought the extra color would be nice. Finally, I realized as I was going to serve the meal that, in the craziness of dinner prep, I'd forgotten to make rice, so I hurriedly soaked some Thai rice noodles and we had it over that instead. The rice noodles were fine, but I would definitely make rice next time.

It didn't matter. This recipe is amazing and flexible; the base is so good, and we spent much of dinner chatting about different variations we could try. I'd especially like to try mixing up the meats: making a chicken version, or a mixed meats one with chicken, sausage, and shrimp. And next time, I'll be sure to top it with cilantro which I forgot to put on the shopping list, and maybe even something crunchy on top like some slivered almonds? Whatever changes you make, this recipe is a must-try!

Pumpkin seafood curry
based on Nigella Lawson's Thai yellow pumpkin and seafood curry

1 can Thai coconut milk
1 tbsp red Thai curry paste (NL suggests 1-2 tbsp. I was worried about the heat, so only used 1. It wasn't hot at all, and I'd probably up it to the full 2 tbsp next time.)
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock (NL calls for fish stock)
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp sugar
zest from one lemon (NL calls for 3 lemongrass stalks, but we didn't have them.)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3 pounds pumpkin, peeled and cut into large bite-sized chunks
2 cups mixed vegetables (chopped red pepper, sliced carrots, and chunks of summer squash)
1 pound salmon, skinned and cut into large bite-sized chunks
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled (and cut in half if large)
1/2 cup swiss chard and spinach, destemmed and chopped
1 lime, juiced
(NL calls for cilantro for garnish, which we sadly didn't have.)
(Rice. I forgot it, so I'm adding it to the recipe so I remember next time!)

1. Skim the thick top off the can of coconut milk. Put it into a large dutch oven with the curry paste, and cook it over medium until it sizzles. Then whisk the two together.
2. Add the remainder of the coconut milk, stock, fish sauce, sugar, lemon zest, and tumeric. Bring to a boil.
3. Add the pumpkin, and cook on a "fast simmer" (as NL says) until the pumpkin is getting close to tender, about 10 minutes.
4. Add any hard veggies (carrots, peppers) and cook for another few minutes.
5. Keeping the stock at a fast simmer, add the shrimp and salmon, and cook until they're cooked through, about 4 or 5 minutes.
6. Add the greens and push them down. Once wilted, stir in the lime juice.
7. Off heat, add the cilantro. Serve over rice.


  1. That looks really good...and exceedingly avatar-worthy in color and content! Loved to read the adventure that accompanied making this's always fun to hear what goes on in other people's kitchens so I don't feel so alone at the sometimes chaos that happens in mine from time to time.

  2. That looks wonderful. I'm developing a serious yen for soup and one-dish recipes, but a little simpler in taste than this one.

  3. That curry sounds fantastic. I love the idea of adding coconut and pumpkin together with the seafood. I wish I had picked a pumpkin up at the farmers' market this weekend!

  4. What an interesting and delicious looking combo! Pumpkin sounds like a great addition to curry!