Sunday, 6 October 2013

Pumpkin and Chickpea Curry Recipe

Autumn is here again, and despite the chilliness starting to set in, and the damp mists hanging around all day, there is at least one good thing to celebrate, and that is Kürbis-Zeit!

An enormous pumpkin snapped at the Berlin Botanical Gardens
Whether in pumpkin soup or as a curry, I love these cheerful, nutritious, colourful squashes in all their many varieties.

I usually cook my curry dishes off the top of my head, and when I come to re-produce them again I forget what I did last time, so here I have actually written out a recipe as I went along and I wish to share it with you. I hope you try it, and wish you guten Appetit!

Pumpkin and Chickpea Curry Recipe

Serves 2 people as a main dish.
Also looks good in the centre of a buffet, especially if served in the hollowed-out pumpkin shell.

This is a colourful, creamy, vegetarian curry in the South Indian style, with a rich depth of spicy flavours to warm you up on an Autumn evening.
The spice-heat can be cranked up by not de-seeding the chilli, or by adding chilli flakes.

For the base:

2 medium-sized onions, peeled, halved top-to-bottom and thinly sliced into half-moons ~200g
up to 4 tbsp oil or ghee (I used olive oil)
1/2 tsp whole black mustard seeds
1tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp of coriander seeds, crushed in a pestel and mortar
1 large thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and roughly cut
1 green chilli, de-seeded for a less hot effect, and thinly sliced.
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

For the powdered spice mix:

1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cinammon powder
1/2 tsp dry chilli flakes (optional)
the black seeds, crushed, from four cardamon pods
1 pinch of asofetida
a twist of milled black peppercorns
- alternatively use 2tsp of garam masala or shop-bought curry powder

See here for tips on where to buy spices in Berlin

For the body:

1/2 pumpkin, peeled, de-seeded, and the flesh diced into large cubes ~350g (I used hokkaido). You can also use butternut squash.
1tsp tamarind paste
1/2 can of coconut milk (200g)
200g soaked chickpeas (half a can)
about six to eight curry leaves (optional)
1 bay leaf (or indian bay leaf)
1tsp vegetable stock powder or salt to taste

For the optional garnish:

A couple of slices of solid creamed coconut
1tbsp flaked almonds
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped

For the optional rice accompaniment:

1/2 cup of dry basmati rice
1 cup cold water
a pinch of salt
A few strands of saffron added to the rice and water as it simmers gives a nice compliment to the colour of the pumpkin curry.


1. add two tablespoons of oil or ghee to a large saucepan and turn up the heat

2. add 1/2 tsp of black mustard seeds as the oil heats up.

3. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add 1tsp of cumin seeds.

4. Add the onions, stir in the seeds with a wooden spoon, cover the pan with a lid, and reduce the heat.

5. Stir the chopped ginger and green chilli into the onions and keep covered.

6. As the oil starts to cool, add in the chopped garlic (too hot and the garlic might burn and give a bitter taste).

7. After three or four minutes the onions will become translucent. Take off the heat.

8. Stir in the powdered turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, chilli flakes (optional, for a more fiery taste), cardamom seeds, a pinch of asofetida, and a twist of the pepper mill.
Coat the onion mixture well then return to the heat.

9. Add the diced pumpkin flesh and tamarind paste. Gently stir together with a wooden spoon, and turn up the heat. Add more oil or ghee if the mixture looks a bit dry or is sticking to the pan.

10. Add half the can of coconut milk and bring to the boil.

11. Turn the heat down to a simmer, stir in the chickpeas.

12. When cool enough to sample, have a taste and add vegetable stock powder or salt to your preference.

13. stir in curry leaves if available, add a bay leaf on top and cover with a lid.

14. Let the curry simmer at a low heat for 30 minutes. Check periodically for further seasoning needs (salt, black pepper, or a pinch more various spices), and to stir to stop the curry sticking to the bottom of the pan.

15. If you are serving with rice, start it cooking half-way through the 30 minutes.

16. The curry is ready when the chickpeas are still whole but melt in the mouth, and the pumpkin flesh is soft but not turning mushy.

17. Before serving, slightly roast the flaked almonds in a dry frying pan. Meanwhile remove the bay leaf from the curry, and gently stir in thin slices of solid creamed coconut.

18. Serve on a bed of rice or with an accompanying naan bread, optionally garnished with the flaked almonds and coriander leaves.

My talented other half photographed my creation which can be seen here: Pumpkin and chickpea curry.


  1. I will take note for next winter warmer :)

  2. I brought a pumpkin from my parents garden and I will cook this on Sunday. Thanks for the inspiration! Curious how it will taste!


I would be delighted if you wish to leave a comment!
Comments are moderated so there might be a delay before they appear on my blog.