Cut the pumpkin or squash into approximately 1-inch cubes (you should have about
Put the tamarind pulp in the hot water. Mash it with a fork to dissolve it. Let stand for 10 minutes, then press the liquid through a sieve into a bowl. Discard the pulp.
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet or saucepan or a wok over medium heat. Add the turmeric and stir, then add the shallot, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallot is softened and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the shrimp powder and cook for about a minute, until softened. Add the chile powder or cayenne, pumpkin cubes, tamarind liquid, fish sauce, and the ¾ cup water, raise the heat, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to maintain a strong simmer and cook until the pumpkin or squash cubes have softened, 5 to 8 minutes (timing will depend on the kind of pumpkin or squash). Remove the lid and simmer for another minute so the sauce cooks down a little.
Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings if you wish by adding a dash more fish sauce or a little salt. Top with the coriander or mint and serve.
To use sweet potato in place of pumpkin, peel about 1½ pounds sweet potatoes and cut into bite-sized cubes. It will take a little longer to cook.
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