My Pumpkin Curry From Chiang Mai, Thailand

Updated as of 7th September 2011.

I love to cook.  And when I do, I make up my own recipes.

After visiting the US Consulate along the Ping River, we discovered a local market (Maung Mai) near it.  It was early in the morning and there was a lot of activity (that’s another post for another time!)  We love this market so much we’ve gone back with our Korean neighbors and on our own many times.

While we were there we noticed a ton of pumpkins being sold by one particular vendor.  It was not only a great “Kodak” moment, but I thought to myself, “I can make a pumpkin curry.”   You know,  fusion of Burmese and Thai variety.

I bought a big piece of pumpkin for only 20B (yes, you read correctly, only 20B which is about .67 cents).  At the time a friend of ours, Kyle, who was ill with Dengue was not eating well.  He had mentioned that he wanted to try pumpkin curry at a Burmese restaurant and they did not have it on that day.  Remembering that and since he’s been sick with a moody appetite, I’d figure I would share it with Bessie and Kyle as well.  And if I share it with Bessie and Kyle, I’d be sharing some with Dan and Lindsay also.  So it was just safe to get a big chunk of pumpkin and go to town (ok, well it was more like go to the balcony) with my wok.

I know, I know I’m being long winded and all, but you probably just want me to get to the recipe, eh?  🙂

Well, again, I don’t use a recipe and whatever I make is in my head and no two dishes are exactly the same.  I’ve mentioned this before in my food posts.  However, if you are a lover of creating cuisines too than you could probably relate.  I will do my best to give you the directions on how I made it, but again I don’t have exact measurements and there will be a lot of a dash of this and a dash of that, etc.

  • Wash your pumpkin and use either peeler or a knife to remove the skin. (I really don’t like this part!)
  • Cut them into cubes or slices which ever you prefer.  Remember that pumpkin actually doesn’t take that long to cook so the smaller you cut it the quicker it will be cooked and you don’t want it to turn into mashed pumpkin (although that sounds really good right now!  Hmmm I may come back to you with another recipe on this!)    (maybe 4-5 cups of pumpkin, now put them aside)
  • Dice onions.  You need about a cup or more.
  • Dice, smash, cut garlic (use whatever method you feel comfortable with) make it a few cloves- the more the better!  I LOVE GARLIC!

  • Ginger if you have it, if not that’s OK!  Size of a finger tip.  Dice, smash, cut whatever you like.
  • Lemon Grass.  Fresh or dried, it’s OK.  Fresh is better.  Again about a finger tip or two.
  • Fresh Kaiffer lime leaves.  You can use this in two ways.  Slices them thin or put in the dish as whole.  It’s up to you!

  • Coconut milk (oh let’s see maybe about a 3/4 of a cup or more- taste it if you need more, put more, depends on your preference!)
  • Trumeric powder- a dash or two.  If you can find the the fresh roots to saute with  that’s pretty cool too!
  • Salt or fish sauce to taste
  • Oil 3-4 Tbl spoons.  Do not use sesame oil.
  • Bay leaves and  cinnamon sticks (a couple of each is good)

Now you’re ready to cook.  Get your wok or your pot out.

  • Oil first on low heat, then saute onions, garlic, ginger,  lemon grass and turmeric together until it is almost brown on the edges of the onions and garlic.  Don’t burn it.

  • Now add the a few lime leaves. Save some for towards the end.

  • If you want to add carrots do this before the pumpkin.
  • Add the pumpkin.
  • Let it saute in the wok a bit (just a few minutes).

  • Add just some water (1/4 C) so it’s not so dry in the wok.  Also add salt (if you’re using fish sauce, add this before adding the coconut).
  • Let it cook a bit more.  Then, add more water as needed (as much as 1/2 cup) and cover the pot to help cook the pumpkin.
  • Let this cook for a b it.
  • Add the coconut to the mix.
  • Let this cook some more until pumpkin is tender, but not mushy.
  • When the pumpkin looks, tastes half way cooked, add your pearl onions (add more water, if needed and cover the pot as needed and cooked until carrots, pumpkin and onions are tender, but not mushy)
  • Sprinkle the rest of lime leaves towards the end.
  • Add more fish sauce or salt to taste.

This one above was made with cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, carrots and larger sized onions.

This one above was made without cinnamon sticks and bay leaves but with smaller pearl onions and lots of lime leaves.

Well that’s it.  That’s how I made my famous pumpkin curry.

Hope it turns out well for you.  Come back and tell me how you did, what you think, what you liked or didn’t like.  Love to hear from ya.

Sawatdee Kha from Chiang Mai, Thailand.



2 thoughts on “My Pumpkin Curry From Chiang Mai, Thailand

  1. Thank you so much for this recipe! When I lived in San Francisco, this was the dish that introduced me to the wonders of Burmese food (served with jin tok and coconut rice at Burmese Kitchen near Civic Center). I’ve always wanted to learn how to make it. It’s not too difficult (thank you for your excellent walkthrough and photos!), and amazingly delicious! Je-zu-be!

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