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Thai Pumpkin Curry

Thai Pumpkin Curry is a delicious and satisfying meal that takes just 25 minutes to make. This version is vegetarian (easily made vegan, too!) and includes chickpeas, but you can add tofu, chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp if you like.

overhead shot of thai pumpkin curry with rice, lime wedges, etc on the side

What is Thai Pumpkin Curry?

Thai Pumpkin Curry is a spicy curry made with sweet cubed pumpkin and Thai curry paste. It has a rich coconut milk base, which mellows out the spicy kick of the curry paste a bit. It is one of the best savory pumpkin recipes I know.

I use fresh pumpkin in this delicious Thai Pumpkin Curry rather than puree because I like to puree only part of it, giving it a thick texture with some tender chunks of pumpkin. You could add a cup of pumpkin puree if you want to skip the part of the recipe where you pull out some of the pumpkin to blend it.

This recipe includes chickpeas for some protein, making it a satisfying one-pot meal. But you can substitute tofu for the chickpeas if you like. If you’re not vegetarian, feel free to add chicken, pork, or beef.

You can add other vegetables, too, like carrots, broccoli, green beans, zucchini, or eggplant. More vegetables will only make this dish even more satisfying and nutritious.

What kind of pumpkin should you use?

The best pumpkin to use for Thai Pumpkin Curry is any good eating pumpkin. I like sugar pumpkins, Japanese pumpkins, and other types of squash in the same family, like kabocha squash, acorn squash, or butternut squash.

low angle shot of the dish in the cooking pot

What is the best brand of Thai curry paste?

Thai red curry paste is a condiment that combines garlic, red chiles, lemongrass, shallots, galangal, shrimp paste, makrut lime zest, and other seasonings into one spicy, flavorful paste.

There are several brands available in the US, which vary in terms of flavor and heat level. Which you like best will depend on your personal preference for spice level and flavor.

I love a spicy kick and Mae Ploy brand curry paste delivers that. You can buy it in any Thai or Asian grocery store or online.

Thai Kitchen brand curry paste is milder and also may be more widely available where you live. You can find Thai Kitchen brand in most supermarkets or online.

I love using Thai curry paste in recipes because it provides layers of complex flavor without requiring a long list of ingredients.

overhead shot of ingredients for Thai Pumpkin Curry

What ingredients do you need to make Thai pumpkin curry?

The list of ingredients for this Thai curry may seem a little long, but most are common pantry items or ingredients that are easy to find at any supermarket (note that the complete recipe, including ingredient measurements and detailed step-by-step instructions, is included in the recipe card at the bottom of this post).

  • Cooking oil (olive oil, coconut oil, or vegetable oil)
  • Bell peppers (red, orange, yellow or a combination)
  • 1 red chile pepper (serrano or jalapeno pepper), seeded and chopped
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Thai red curry paste
  • Diced fresh pumpkin
  • Ground turmeric
  • Ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • Ginger
  • Makrut lime leaves (also called kaffir lime leaves, or use bay leaves)
  • Fish sauce or vegetarian fish sauce
  • Lime juice
  • Palm sugar or brown sugar (optional)
  • Vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • Full fat coconut milk (you can substitute light coconut milk if you prefer)
  • Canned chickpeas
  • Spinach
  • Fresh cilantro (or substitute Thai basil)

How do you make it?

This Thai Pumpkin Curry recipe is easy to make and takes just about 25 minutes from start to finish (note that the complete recipe, including ingredient measurements and detailed step-by-step instructions, is included in the recipe card at the bottom of this post).

  1. Saute peppers in a skillet to soften them.
  2. In a Dutch oven or stockpot, saute onions to soften, then add garlic, curry paste,
  3. turmeric, and cumin.
  4. Add the pumpkin, salt and pepper, and cook until the pumpkin begins to soften.
  5. Add the softened peppers to the pot along with the ginger, lime leaves, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, if using, broth, and coconut milk. Simmer until the pumpkin is tender.
  6. Remove about 1 cup of the pumpkin pieces and put them in a blender (or use an immersion blender to partially puree the soup). Process until smooth and then return to the pot.
  7. Add the chickpeas and let them heat through, then stir in the spinach and cilantro and cook a minute or two until the spinach wilts.
  8. Serve hot over steamed rice or Coconut Rice.

What to serve with Thai Pumpkin Curry

Serve this Thai Pumpkin Curry with white rice (like jasmine rice), brown rice, Instant Pot Coconut Rice, or Thai Fried Rice with Pineapple and other Thai dishes like Thai Curry Puffs, Tod Mun Pla (Thai Fish Cakes), Noodles with Peanut Sauce, Thai Larb, and Chicken Satay.

For step-by-step instructions for making this, check out my Thai Pumpkin Curry Web Story!

Overhead shot of the dish in the cooking pot

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Yield: Serves 4

Thai Pumpkin Curry

Overhead shot of Thai pumpkin curry in a white Dutch oven
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon cooking oil, divided
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 small orange or yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 red chile pepper (serrano or jalapeno pepper), seeded and chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 ½ cups diced pumpkin
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 slices fresh ginger
  • 2 makrut lime leaves leaves (or use bay leaves)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (or use vegetarian fish sauce or soy sauce for vegan version)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
  • 3 ½ cups spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

Instructions

  1. In a medium skillet on the stove top, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chile pepper and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute more. Remove from the heat.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat. When the oil begins to
    shimmer, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, curry paste, turmeric, and cumin and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute more more.
  3. Add the pumpkin, season with salt and pepper, and continue to cook, stirring to mix the ingredients well, until the pumpkin begins to soften, about 5 minutes more. Add the reserved peppers along with the ginger, lime leaves, fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar, if using. Stir in the broth and coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the pumpkin is tender, about 5 minutes more.
  4. Once softened, take out about 1 cup of pumpkin and put it in a blender. Process until smooth and then return to the
    pot.
  5. Add the chickpeas and bring the soup back to a simmer over medium heat. Cook briefly, until the chickpeas are heated and then stir in the spinach and cilantro and cook a minute or two until the spinach wilts. Remove from the heat.
  6. Serve hot.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 550Total Fat 25gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 1mgSodium 1179mgCarbohydrates 73gFiber 18gSugar 22gProtein 18g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

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By on October 2nd, 2021

About Robin Donovan


Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 40 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners, 5 Ingredient Cooking for Two, Sushi at Home, The Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other popular publications.

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