I have been racking my brain since Monaco to decide what to eat for the Canadian Grand Prix and it’s been surprisingly difficult. For inspiration, I searched the web and I asked my friends. The best suggestions were either obvious – Maple Syrup – or something that I didn’t (or couldn’t) really make at home – Poutine and Nanaimo bars. My research brought me to the conclusion that Canada has a rich food history inspired from the many different cultures that settled there. Even Bannock, a bread popular with the First Nations, apparently originates from Scottish fur traders.
With that in mind I decided to take my inspiration from the only Canadian person I know (she is Indian-Canadian) and the fact that we were having vegetarian friends around for dinner. Hence for the Canadian Grand Prix we were having curry! It’s not actually such a great leap as there has actually been quite a large population of South Asian Indians in Canada since the late 19th century.
Recipe: Pumpkin Curry
Summary: This curry is real satisfying and doesn’t miss meat at all, the ingredient list may look long (as with all curry recipes) but once you have all of the ingredients you’ll have loads of fun playing with the flavours. As with all of my recipes they are designed to be played around with and adjusted to suit your own preference.
- 600g Pumpkin or Squash – peeled and cut into chunks – I used half a Kabocha but it works just as well with Butternut
- 1 tbsp Oil – any light, flavourless oil will do, I used rapeseed
- 4 x Large White Onions – finely sliced
- 4 x Clove of Garlic – grated
- 1 x tsp Dried Chilli Flakes – you can increase or decrease the amount for preference
- 1 inch of Ginger – grated
- 1 inch Fresh Turmeric – grated – you can use 1 tsp of dried powder
- 2 tsp Curry Power – I use my homemade Roasted Sri Lankan Curry Powder but any good one from the shop will do
- 1 tin Coconut Milk
- 2 tbsp Tamarind Water – you can use lemon juice
- 1 tbsp Palm Sugar – grated
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 tbsp Fresh Coriander – roughly chopped
- In a large heavy pan ( I use one of these Le Creuset Cast Iron Casserole) heat the oil over a gentle heat and add the onions with a pinch of salt. Turn the heat down as low as possible and place a tight fitting lid. Stir this occasionally, to stop it catching, for about an hour until the onions are sweet and golden brown.
- Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and turmeric and cook for another couple of minutes.
- Next add the curry powder, give a good stir and once you can smell the spices add the pumpkin and coconut milk and stir once more.
- Put the lid onto the curry and leave to cook on a medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The coconut milk should be gently bubbling not boiling; if the cooking is too rapid then the pumpkin will break up.
- Add the tamarind water and palm sugar and then season to taste. When tasting only the milk it should have quite a kick from chilli and have a slight sweet and sour taste from the sugar and tamarind.
- Test the pumpkin to if it is cooked – it should still have a bit of body but not be hard on the teeth.
- Once you are ready to serve add the chopped coriander and serve with rice.
Tip: If you don’t have much time you can speed the recipe up by softening the onions on a higher heat. They will be cooked but they won’t have the amazing sweetness and depth or colour that the slow cooking does.
You can substitute the pumpkin with other vegetables or even meat.
Preparation time: 30 minute(s)
Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 30 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Number of servings (yield): 4
Culinary tradition: Indian (Southern)