Meatless Monday: Pumpkin Curry

My original plan for this month was to show you all how to roast & puree a pumpkin, and then share a bunch of pumpkin recipes.

After pumpkin bread on Friday and pumpkin curry today…I’m totally going backwards.

Since I didn’t exactly think a Weekend in Photos post was appropriate (my weekend consisted of only 2 things: crying with family and roasting a bunch of pumpkins), I decided to put one of the roast pumpkins to immediate use for my next Meatless Monday installment.

Let me put all of this into perspective by saying I do not like pumpkin. I repeat, I (normally) do not like pumpkin. I always opted for chocolate cake pecan pie over pumpkin pie as a kid. Canned pumpkin just icks me out. Apparently, all that changes when you make your own pumpkin puree…It gives it just a hint of pumpkin flavor, and lets all the other typical pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, etc) shine through. But more on pumpkin puree later.

A little over a year ago, my mom found a recipe for pumpkin curry that was probably the best curry I ever had. OK, so it was the best curry made by a white person I’ve ever had. So I set out this weekend to recreate it. Unfortunately, my parents didn’t have any coconut milk in their pantry, so I improvised:

Enter: the poor man’s (or 20-something who hasn’t gotten groceries in 2 weeks) curry base.

Hear me out. Cream of mushroom soup is a largely flavorless soup. It adds the same creaminess that coconut milk would, PLUS it takes on the flavor of whatever spices you add to it.

That being said, coconut milk would be fantastic in this recipe. But I didn’t have coconut milk, so this is what I used, and it was amaaazing all on its own. It is a very mild curry spice-wise, but it packs a ton of flavor.

Pumpkin Curry
feeds 4

1 1/4 cups prepared cream of mushroom soup
1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced
1 tsp ginger, grated or finely minced
1 can green chiles (4 oz can)
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cumin seed
1 small pumpkin
1/2 small onion, diced
4-5 white mushrooms, diced
1 tomato, diced
oil, for sauteeing

Carve your pumpkin into 4 quarters and remove the seeds and insides. Put in oven at 400 degrees for about 45-50 minutes, or until the pumpkin is fork tender. After it cools, remove the skins and any stringy insides that you may not have been able to remove earlier. Then, cut into cubes. For me, one small pumpkin produced a good 3-4 cups of cubes.

While the pumpkin is roasting, prepare cream of mushroom soup. This usually consists of adding a can of water or milk to a can of soup and heating on the stove. Measure out 1 1/4 cups of the soup and add to it the garlic, ginger, chiles, and all of the other spices except cumin seed. Stir well, notice how delicious it smells, and set aside. Also while pumpkin is roasting, prepare onion, mushrooms and tomatoes by dicing them.

Heat oil on a sautee pan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds to pan and let toast for about 2 minutes. Then, add in onion and cook until translucent. Next, add in cubed pumpkin and mushrooms. Feel free to add more oil at this point if you need to.

Once the pumpkin has started to brown, add in the cream of mushroom mixture, stirring to coat. Add in diced tomatoes and let simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Serve over rice or grain of choice!

pumpkin and veggies riiight before their soup bath

Notes: You could roast the pumpkin for less time (just until it’s soft enough to cut easily), but it would mean a longer simmer time on the stove in the final step. Coconut milk can be subbed for the soup, and you can also sub your favorite veggies for mushrooms and tomato.

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Also… blog announcement!

I finally decided on a domain name (which is difficult with an apparently super-common blog name) and purchased a domain this weekend! You are now visiting blondeambitionblog.net! Woo hoo!

Meatless Monday: Veggie Curry

In college, Meatless Monday was a product of the hippies on campus who set up shop along the bike path with their wooden painted signs, or in the plaza with their info booth, or in the dining commons, with their…. Well, you get the picture. They were everywhere. Whether you agree with the method of hardcore MM fans, the concept is simple: cut meat out of your diet once a week to help the environment, animals, and your health.

For me post-college, Meatless Monday isn’t really a political practice as much as it is a way for me to practice my laziness and cheapness. Meat is expensive. Plus, I usually buy it in bulk and freeze it so it takes a long time to thaw and prepare. Plusssss, eating too much of it is unhealthy!

I’m also always on a mission to prove to my boyfriend that a meal can be filling and tasty even when it doesn’t involve a steak. So I present my first Meatless Monday recipe! (He loved this, btw)

Curry is much easier to make from scratch than most people think. It may not be super authentic, but your taste buds will love this simple dish. My favorite part was the addition of chopped green olives! The briny olives really complemented the spicy sauce. Enjoy!

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