I can’t resist the small pie pumpkins that appear in stores this time of year – always it seems, in huge piles in giant cardboard boxes. So many cute pumpkins! Usually I roast them and scrape out the flesh to make pies, or I freeze some and incorporate it into pancakes, biscuits or muffins. A few weeks ago I came across a pumpkin green curry recipe (in an issue of Women’s Health) for which one small pie pumpkin is perfect. The original recipe says to “steam the pumpkin” once it’s been cut into bite-sized cubes, which sounds like a great idea except that splitting open a pumpkin is not a simple affair. My regular knife bounced off the gourd like a kid on a trampoline. The cleaver was employed to cut mine into quarters and even then, peeling proved to be impossible. So I placed the quarters on parchment paper on a baking sheet and roasted for about 25-30 minutes at 425F, then scooped out the flesh and cut into chunks. It worked just fine.
~1 lb. extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 16 pieces
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
4 cups pumpkin, cut into small cubes (or roast, as I did)
8 oz. package of crimini mushrooms, quartered
3 cups broccoli, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup shallots, finely chopped
2 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced (or grated with microplane)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth + more for stir-frying
3 tbsp. green curry paste
4 tsp. soy sauce or tamari
1 cup thinly sliced fresh basil, for garnish
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
2 cups hot brown jasmine rice
Prepare jasmine rice (on stovetop or in rice cooker). Season tofu with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer in a non-stick pan – do not add any oil. Heat tofu over medium-high heat, pressing to release any liquid and cook for about 5 minutes per side or until nicely browned. Remove from pan and slice into strips. Set aside.
If not roasting pumpkin: place pumpkin chunks in a large steamer basket and steam for about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli florets and steam for another 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft – broccoli should still be bright green.
Heat 1/4 cup or so of vegetable broth in a saute pan over medium heat. Add shallots, ginger, garlic, mushrooms and red pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant – do not brown. Add coconut milk, 1/2 cup vegetable broth, curry paste and soy sauce and bring to a boil.
Add tofu, pumpkin* and broccoli – stir very gently so as not to break apart the pumpkin. (*I decided to add the pumpkin as a kind of garnish on the top of the curry so as not to break it down too much.) Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until liquid thickens, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Divide jasmine rice between 4 bowls, top with pumpkin curry and garnish with lots of basil and cilantro.