An easy one pot vegan Indian pumpkin curry is a perfect fall or winter recipe with a melange of flavours.
The combination of the sweetness of pumpkin and coconut milk with a heat from chillies and the aroma of spices makes this coconut pumpkin curry a treat for your pallet!
This recipe is a fusion of the pumpkin curry Kerala style with some North Indian flavour influences making it an easy Indian pumpkin recipe to be made at home.
You only need a handful of stable pantry items and essential Indian spices to make this coconut pumpkin curry at home.
You can easily substitute the spices in case you do not have them in your cupboard.
The ingredients listed will serve upto 4 adults.
- 450 gms (3-4 cups) of Pumpkin, – I have used red pumpkins to make this dish. You can use any type of pumpkin such as yellow or or even squash(see guide to buy pumpkins below). It is best to dice the pumpkin into medium size as making it smaller may make the pumpkins a bit squishy while cooking.
- 150 gms (1 cup) Broad beans – You can substitute broad beans with green beans or with other non-sweet veg such as potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, chickpeas etc. This helps to cut through the sweetness of the red pumpkin. Chop into medium sized length.
- 1 medium/large sized onion – 1 chopped
- 1 inch (2 tsp) Ginger – You can choose to either grate it, chop it fine or use ginger paste
- Fresh coriander (Cilantro) leaves – A large handful of chopped fresh coriander leaves helps to add colour and freshness to the dish. You can skip using it if you are not too keen on coriander.
- 2 tsp Lemon juice – a generous squeeze adds a tangy freshness to dish and adds another dimension of flavour to this sweet red pumpkin recipe.
- 10- 15 curry leaves – This is an optional ingredient that helps to enhance the flavour of the dish. You can skip using curry leaves if you cannot find them.
- 3 Green Cardamom pods – You can read more about the uses and benefits of green cardamom pods here. Personally I would avoid skipping this spice in the dish as it adds a deep aromatic flavour.
- 2 bay leaves – The long period of cooking infusing the dish with a subtle woody aroma. Click here the different types of bay leaves used for cooking.
- 2 tsp cumin seeds – For a nutty crunch. More about uses of cumin seeds here.
- 2 tsp mustard seeds – This is an optional spice. You can skip adding it if you do not have mustard seeds at home. It also adds a nutty pungency. Read about the different types of mustard seeds and their uses here.
- 3 tsp ground coriander – One of the must have Indian spices, coriander powder adds a woody fragrance to the dish. Read more about using ground coriander here.
- 2 tsp ground cumin – Another must have spice for cooking different types of regional traditional Indian dishes.
- 1 tsp red chilli powder – Using red chilli powder in your dish is optional or as per your taste. You can substitute it with fresh chilli or paprika. My best recommended chilli powder is the Kashmiri chilli powder which has more flavour and less heat.
- 1 tsp Garam Masala powder – It is a traditional Indian spice blend used across the sub-continent. You can choose to add this to the dish or omit if you cannot find it.
NOTE – Go to the section on buying spices online to buy all the listed spices above.
- 75 gm or 1/2 cup,Tomato puree – You can substitute the puree with 1 fresh chopped tomatoes
- 2 cups coconut milk – If the coconut milk is too thick add less of it and add some water to make it more flowy.
- 3 tsp ghee or coconut oil – You can also use other types of oil such as sunflower oil or any vegetables oil.
How To Make Pumpkin Curry Indian Style (Step wise cooking images)
Here is the step-wise guide to make this vegan Indian pumpkin curry at home.
Dice the vegetables into chunky pieces and keep aside.
Heat ghee or your chosen fat in a pan. Once hot add the whole spices that is cardamoms, cumin seeds,mustard seeds and curry leaves and let is splutter for 40-60 seconds.
Add onions and saute until translucent. Add 2 tsp of grated ginger and continue to cook on medium heat for another 3-4 minutes until the strong raw smell of the ginger disappears . Add a little water (3 tsp) at a time if it sticks to the bottom of the pan.
Next, add the vegetables and mix well with the onions and whole spices for 4 minutes.
Add the ground spices that is 3 tsp of coriander powder, 2 tsp of cumin powder, 2 tsp of turmeric powder and chilli powder and salt to taste.
Saute for 3-4 minutes. You can add water (2-3 tsp) from time to time if the vegetables catches the bottom, but pumpkins tend to leave water so be mindful before adding water.
Add tomato puree and cover the vegetables well with the spices and tomatoes. Let it cook for another 4-5 minutes.
Finally add coconut milk and garam masala powder.
Add water if required, cover and bring to boil until vegetables are well cooked.
Serve spicy and sweet Indian pumpkin curry with plain boiled rice.
Cooking Tips & FAQ’s
- Tempering the spices – Wait until the oil is warm before adding the whole spices. Temper or toast them in oil until it emits an aromatic smell.
- Adding the vegetables – Add vegetables that take longer to cook first before adding the pumpkin. In this case add the broad beans first. Most pumpkins will cook fast.
- For a chunky pumpkin curry – Chop the pumpkin into medium to large size. Avoid over cooking the pumpkin if you do not wish to make it squishy and pulpy.
- For a creamier texture – This version of curried pumpkin is a liquid sauce based one. You can if you wish make a creamier version by adding coconut milk and smashing some of the pumpkin chunks in the dish.
- Adding the spices – If you like the pumpkin to be chunky and not mashed during cooking then add the ground spices suggested in step 5 above to the beans first and then add the pumpkins.
- Getting the right consistency – If the coconut milk is too thick and does not make enough gravy add 1/2 to 1 cup of warm water.
- Variations to the Indian pumpkin recipe – You do not have to use the same vegetables I have used in this recipe. You can add different types of seasonal vegetables and legumes to the dish. Read the FAQ section below for more ideas.
What are curry leaves? Can I make this recipe without them?
Curry leaves is an Indian herb with a fresh, citrusy aromatic flavour. They are used extensively in the Southern and Western part of India. You do not need to add curry leaves to the dish if you do not have them, but they surely do wonders to the taste of this Indian pumpkin curry.
I do not like pumpkin but would like to try this recipe, can I use any other vegetable?
Of course, you can use any seasonal vegetable of your choice. Some of the best veges to use to make one pot pumpkin curry without the pumpkin are sweet potatoes, squash, kohlrabi, green beans, peas, cauliflower.
I do not have garam masala powder, can I skip it?
Adding garam masala at the end of the cooking process enhances the taste further. You can skip using it is you do not have it or use 1 tsp of curry powder instead.
How can I add more protein to this easy vegan Indian pumpkin curry?
For adding protein to the recipe, you can add any legume of your choice. Some of the best that tastes great with the combination of coconut milk are chickpeas, black beans, black-eyed beans and pinto beans. If you are using the dried version then remember to soak and soak them before adding them with other vegetables.
What is the best accompaniment to curried pumpkin?
This Indian pumpkin curry is best served with plain boiled rice. You can also serve it with Indian breads such as chapati, naan, parantha and puri.
Serve this dish with boiled millet or brown rice to enjoy a low carb pumpkin curry.
Are there any tips to buy pumpkin for Indian recipes with pumpkin?
The best type of pumpkin to make Indian dishes are the large sweet bright orange pumpkins.
Squash is normally not used to make Indian dishes but you can use them if you so wish. You can always add some sugar to add a bit of sweetness if you wish.
Small pumpkins also tend to be sweeter, so a good option for making curries.
When buying pumpkins, It is best to choose firm once that does not make a very hollow sound when you gently pat them.
Those without any cuts or marks tend to stay fresh for longer and taste better too.
Store whole pumpkins in a dark, dry and cool place.
They can stay upto a month if not cut open.