Peter Kuruvita’s pumpkin curry


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Lands of the Curry Leaf

Lands of the Curry Leaf

By Peter Kuruvita

Published 2018

  • About

My dad’s favourite curry, this dish is so tasty and easy to prepare. Serve it with roti and coconut sambal, or with another curry; the Ridged gourd curry is ideal as they are different colours.

The coconut rice powder can be used in any curry, to thicken it and enrich the flavour.

Preparation 20 minutes
Cooking 30 minutes


  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) Japanese or Kent pumpkin, washed well
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh curry leaf sprig, leaves picked
  • 2 small Indian green chillies, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon Dark roasted curry powder
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) coconut milk
  • Coconut sambal, to serve

Coconut Rice Powder

  • 100 g ( oz/½ cup) long-grain white rice
  • 100 g ( oz) freshly grated coconut, or desiccated coconut
  • 1 fresh curry leaf sprig, leaves picked
  • 1 teaspoon green cardamom pods

Mustard Paste

  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
  • 2 cm (¾ inch) knob of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • tablespoons coconut cream


For the coconut rice powder, dry-roast all the ingredients in a frying pan over medium heat until the rice and coconut have turned dark brown, stirring regularly so the coconut doesn’t burn. Remove from the heat, allow to cool, then grind to a powder using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Set aside.

Place all the mustard paste ingredients in a blender. Add 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) water and pulse until smooth. Set aside.

Leaving the skin on, cut the pumpkin into 2 cm (¾ inch) cubes, removing the seeds. Place in a large heavy-based saucepan, along with the onion, curry leaves and chilli. Add all the spices, the coconut milk and 2 tablespoons of the coconut rice powder and bring to the boil. (Store the remaining coconut rice powder in an airtight container in a cool dark place for next time.)

Cover and simmer over medium–low heat for about 15 minutes, until the pumpkin is just tender.

Stirring continuously, add the mustard paste and bring to just below the boil.

Remove from the heat, season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve with coconut sambal.