I’m ready for autumn, or fall as it’s called here. Falltumn. Actually I’ve been ready for falltumn since…March. It’s not just the respite from the unrelenting Florida heat I’m looking forward to…it’s the food & the cooking of soups, stews & roasts; being able to open windows & doors to let some fresh air in; football season; being able to blink without breaking into a puddle of sweat; my birthday; Thanksgiving &…snow, not that Florida gets snow. I miss snow. Ok, maybe not snow higher than our garage, or having to pay someone to dig us out of the house with a tractor, or plugging my car in just so it will start in the morning, or the winds howling across the open plains & depositing every snowflake within a 20 mile radius around our old house in the middle of the cornfield, or paying four thousand dollars to heat our house for a few months, or having my husband drive home from work at 2AM on interstates that should have been closed because they were so icy & dangerous…not that sort of snow but the chilly, fresh air, the season’s first snowfall & the complete silence that only a good snowfall can bring.
My longing for the season change was the inspiration for this roasted pumpkin, cauliflower & spinach curry with coconut & chutney. When you say “pumpkin” here it gets a little confusing & many think of something you carve for Halloween or put in a pie. Pumpkin to the rest of the world, you call winter squash in North America. The pumpkin I buy from the Asian market is helpfully labeled as “pumpkin”. So after some detective work I think the one I used is ‘cheese’ or ‘Long Island’ pumpkin. Kabocha or butternut squash would both work. I roasted the pumpkin & the cauliflower first because roasting veggies caramelizes them & gives them more flavor.
Curry paste & curry powder are great for some recipes but I made my own curry blend in this recipe with some pretty magnificent results. No exaggerating, this curry has a wonderful flavor, a perfect balance of spice & heat. For the dieting divas among us, spices are excellent to cook with as they add a lot of interesting flavor to a dish. And as we know, flavor is paramount when dieting. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been eating relatively grain-free & certainly gluten-free. I’ve not weighed myself for a couple of weeks but my husband did & he lost 7 pounds in 3 days. Which is further proof there is no god or, if there is, he is certainly male & has a warped sense of humor. And then I speak to my friend Patrick today who eats food like he is never going to see it again, and he tells me he has lots 13 pounds. Those scales better be kind to me next week.
I’m yet to find a good East Indian restaurant where we live here in Florida so I plan to dabble in some curry making at home. Apart from the flavors of East Indian food, I love all the condiments that are served with the curries – raita, mango chutney, tamarind chutney to name but a few. I made a simple coconut & cilantro chutney to accompany this curry. If you’re eating rice, then by all means, steam some fragrant basmati rice to soak up all the coconut sauce goodness. I had mine as is, sans rice & thoroughly enjoyed it. My meat-loving husband even raved about it. A couple of days of leftovers & there was none left to freeze. A good sign!
- 32 oz (907g) pumpkin such as cheese or kabocha (or butternut squash)
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee, melted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cauliflower
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons crushed red chilies (chilli flakes)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 14 oz (396g) can coconut milk
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 4 packed cups (4 generous handfuls) baby spinach leaves
- COCONUT CILANTRO CHUTNEY
- 1/3 cup grated palm sugar
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 cup cilantro leaves (medium packed)
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1/3 cup mint leaves
- pinch salt
- To make the coconut cilantro chutney: Place all ingredients in a small bowl & use an immersion blender until finely chopped & well combined. Or use a small food processor. Cover & set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375° (190°C).
- Peel the pumpkin using a small sharp knife. Use a spoon to scoop out seeds. Cut pumpkin into 1 1/2-inch (3.8cm) pieces. Place on a greased baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons of coconut oil or ghee. Sprinkle with a little of the salt & half of the pepper. Toss to coat. Roast in preheated oven for 25 minutes; turn pieces.
- Cut cauliflower in half. Remove outer leaves & remove & discard core. Cut each half into florets. Place on a greased baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons of oil, sprinkle with a little of the salt & remaining pepper; toss to coat. Roast for about 20 minutes or until the edges of the florets are golden.
- While vegetables are roasting, heat remaining oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic & fresh ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until onion is softened.
- Add chilies, garam marsala, cumin, coriander, ground ginger, tumeric & cardamom. Cook, stirring over medium heat, for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Stir in cinnamon stick, coconut milk, stock & 1 teaspoon of remaining salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly.
- Gently stir in spinach, pumpkin & cauliflower. Taste for seasoning. Serve with coconut cilantro chutney.