More pumpkin, with an incredible view

jen's splash

RECIPE: Pumpkin cashew coconut curry

The bummer part is that I’m sick. Stupid cold/flu. I spent yesterday wearing my old green polka-dot pajama pants and sipping herbal tea. But if you’re going to feel bad for someone, choose Ken. A recent kickball (yes, in Portland adults play kickball) injury has resulted in crutches.

But bright side: crutches at the beach!

And you thought Oregon was all rain and misery. Bah. That was just the drive TO the beach.

Anyway, a friend offered a weekend at a beach house: A mini-getaway. With my frantic work schedule for fall, an escape was embraced. And besides, the coast is one of my favorite places.

I wish I could live in that house forever. (And I wasn’t sick yet, so it rocked.)

There’s no TV. No internet. (Ken, I’m sure, had iPad withdrawals. But survived.) There were just huge views, a comfy living room and awesome kitchen. Perfect for cooking. Which is what I did all weekend.

Well, when I wasn’t engulfed in the new Wildwood book. (For anyone who likes young adult lit, good illustration, Forest Park or the Decemberists.)

It’s my ideal weekend: sitting somewhere comfy and curled up with a book.

Add good food to the list? More pumpkin at that? And ocean views? Heaven. If my cat were there, as well? You probably would have to pry me from the wooden deck or L-shaped couch with promises of glory. Or maybe just remind me that I need a paycheck in order to keep purchasing books and recipe ingredients. Drats.

While Ken sat on the couch — the injury and all — I cooked. Well, slight correction. He cooked our salad and the garden beets. (Served with ricotta cheese.) I’m too nervous to cook beets even though I love them: the water they cook in, turned pink, can stain things. Eek.

And  my portion of the cooking started with peeling and slicing Ken’s garden pumpkin. And hot peppers from his garden. Then there’s turmeric (which is touted for apparent anti-cancer properties, so I’m totally a fan). Coconut milk, cumin, cashews, onion, cinnamon and lemon.

See? You totally want to come live in this house forever, too, right?

And on second thought, maybe don’t feel so bad for Ken. He sat at a lovely beach house and had me cook for him. Hmm. Don’t bother with too much pity, actually.

Recipe rating: 4 of 5.  Love the pumpkin. And curry. But there’s a missing spice somewhere. Maybe actual curry. More cinnamon? You try, and let me know.

Pumpkin, cashew coconut curry
Author: Jen
Recipe from Sunset Magazine:
  • Chunks of peeled small pumpkin (or a 3-lb. squash)
  • About 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 onion, halved and cut into half-moons
  • 1 or 2 red or green serrano chilies, minced
  • 1 cinnamon stick (2 1/2 in. long)
  • 20 fresh curry leaves or 6 dried bay leaves (I couldn’t find curry leaves, so used bay. I think curry would be better)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) coconut milk
  • 1 cup salted roasted cashews
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Steamed rice
  1. Sprinkle pumpkin chunks with 1/2 tsp. salt. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Brown half the pumpkin in oil, turning once, 6 to 8 minutes; reduce heat if pumpkin starts getting dark. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with 1 tbsp. oil and remaining pumpkin.
  2. Either in another pan while pumpkin is cooking, or wait until pumpkin is finished, heat remaining 1 tbsp. oil over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until deep golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer half to the nonstick frying pan and reserve other half in a bowl. (I forgot to reserve some. And I think it would have been KEY.)
  3. Add chilies, cinnamon, and curry leaves to onion in pan. Cook, stirring often, until curry leaves are very fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add turmeric, cumin, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring, until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Return pumpkin to frying pan (with onion) and add coconut milk. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer until pumpkin is tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in cashews and lemon juice, and add more salt to taste.
  5. Top curry with reserved onion and serve with rice.


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