Monday, October 23, 2017

Pumpkin Curry | Virtual Pumpkin Party

Pumpkin Curry// Loves Food, Loves to Eat #virtualpumpkinpartyIt’s been a rough week over here. Evan and I were just on vacation in Maui, celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary. When we left Seattle, I was still wearing sandals, and when we got back a week later, from the sunniest, beachiest vacation, it was full on Seattle fall. All the rain. All the wind. All the chilly chill temps. Luckily that also means all the unbelievable fall colors (seriously I can hardly stand how beautiful the trees are right now), and all the fall treats… which brings us to the annual Virtual Pumpkin Party (the best fall food event!), hosted by Sara from Cake Over Steak... and this here curry situation!

Pumpkin Curry// Loves Food, Loves to Eat #virtualpumpkinparty I was already thinking of doing a coconut-pumpkin curry (which I know has been done and is fully not unique but yolo), but then I got a little tip while we were in Maui that sealed the deal. At an amazing food truck we went to almost every day (I got the ahi-loin fish tacos omg), Evan had the fish curry bowl, and they let us in on a recipe secret: a big part of the curry sauce base was CAULIFLOWER! Blitzed up in the food processor. It works perfect in this chicken + pumpkin curry, adding some heft and a good savory note to the otherwise kind of sweet flavors (lemongrass, makrut lime leaves, pumpkin, coconut milk). And cauliflower is super good for you, vitamins, nutrients, yadda yadda etc. With the cauliflower, this is a hearty stew, rather than a thinner soup-like curry. The color of this curry made me think of the best ever Thai dish, Khao Soi (it's nothing like it but whatever), which inspired me to put pickled greens on top. I quick pickled some baby bok choi, and the sharp acidity is exactly what this dish needs. Plus peanuts for crunch, and fresh cilantro and red onions. This is pretty simple. I used powdered curry and ginger because lazy, and while there are a handful of ingredients, it comes together pretty quickly and could even work for a weeknight! Note: you should be able to find lemongrass and lime leaf with the fresh herbs (mine comes packaged next to the fresh refrigerated basil, thyme, etc), or in an Asian supermarket.

Pumpkin Curry// Loves Food, Loves to Eat #virtualpumpkinparty Ugh I guess it’s time to put aside the post vacation blues and embrace fall. Here’s my 5 step plan: Step 1: pumpkin curry bowls. Step 2: visit the #virtualpumpkinparty headquarters for so many good pumpkiny fall treats (savory, sweet, and everything in between!). Step 3. scarf + booties. Step 4. candles + fireplace + cat cuddles. Step 5. ALL THE SCARY MOVIES BC SCARY MOVIE SEASON IS MY FAVORITE.

Chicken & Pumpkin Curry Bowls 
Notes: This makes a lot—good for a big group or leftovers. Serves at least 8. Start the rice (recipe at link but see below for notes) and pickled bok choi while the curry is simmering Both take about 30 min.

Coconut oil
1 Japanese or Chinese eggplant
(long skinny type), diced  (about 2.5-3 cups)
1.5 cups diced mushrooms (crimini or white button)
1 lb chicken breast, diced
1 2-inch piece of lemongrass, halved
lengthwise and hard outter layer removed
2 small makrut lime leaves
1 shallot, diced finely (about 1 tablespoon)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, sliced thin or diced
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 can (about 2 cups) coconut milk
1 cup water
1 can (about 2 cups) pumpkin puree
(be sure to get pure pumpkin w/no
sweeteners or spices, not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 head of cauliflower, pulsed in food
processor until it’s a fine mealy texture
1 hearty squirt sriracha
1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Salt & pepper
juice of 1 lime

To serve:
Coconut rice (recipe here, plus I like to toast 
about 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 
with the rice, and leave out the sweetener
and extra flavorings... not needed!)
quick pickled bok choi (recipe below)
thinly sliced red onion

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, and add about a tablespoon of coconut oil. Add eggplant and mushrooms, and cook until tender but not super soft and squishy, about 5 minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Remove from pot and set aside.

Add another tablespoon coconut oil, and add chicken, lemongrass, and lime leaves. Cook until chicken is just about cooked through, and add shallots, garlic and red onion and a pinch of salt. Cook a few more minutes, until the onions/garlic are cooked and fragrant, but be careful to not burn.

Stir in spices (curry through cumin) and cook another minute or so, until fragrant (again, being careful not to burn).

Add coconut milk, water, pumpkin, and cauliflower, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer and remove the lemongrass and lime leaves.

Add back in eggplant and mushrooms, plus a squirt of sriracha and soy sauce, and chickpeas. Simmer for about 30 minutes to an hour. Stir in lime juice shortly before serving (and add more salt and pepper to taste).

Serve over coconut rice with quick pickled baby bok choi (below), peanuts, thinly sliced red onion, cilantro, and sriracha to taste.

Quick Pickled baby bok choi

1 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 baby bok choi, sliced thin (everything
from bulb to leaves)

In a medium sized bowl or large jar, stir together vinegar and sugar, and add bok choi, submerging it in the liquid. Let sit for at least 30 min.

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