Thursday, 21 January 2010

Nigella's Thai Yellow Pumpkin and Seafood Curry

You may have noticed by now that I have a bit of a thing for curry...
Truly I think there is nothing more comforting in the cool weather and I love the exotic fragrance the dishes bring. Who needs incense when glorious spices waft through the air?
This is a relatively simple dish with huge flavour, guaranteed to warm your heart and bring joy to your soul.
I used pollock and shrimp as that is what I had on hand, and served the curry with brown basmati rice - delicious!

Thai Yellow Pumpkin and Seafood Curry
Nigella Lawson, from her book and website.


400ml tin coconut milk
1–2 tablespoons yellow (or red) Thai curry paste
350ml fish stock (I use boiling water and a slug of Benedicta Touch of Taste Concentrated Fish Bouillon; cubes would do)
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons palm sugar or caster sugar
3 lemongrass stalks, each cut into three and bruised with the flat of a knife (I used a purée)
3 lime leaves, de-stalked and cut into strips (I used dried and pulled them out after)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1kg pumpkin (or butternut squash), peeled and cut into large-bite-sized chunks
500g salmon fillet, preferably organic, skinned and cut into large, bite-sized chunks (I used pollock)
500g peeled raw prawns
pak choi or any other green vegetables of your choice (I used a package of frozen spinach and put it right into the curry)
juice of 1/2–1 lime, to taste
coriander, to serve

Serving Size : serves 4-6

Even I, (Nigella), who cook this often, can never get over how delicious it is or how incredibly easy to make!


1. Skim the thick creamy top off the tin of coconut milk and put it, over medium heat, into a large saucepan or casserole with the curry paste. Let it sizzle and, using a fork, whisk or wooden spoon, beat milk and paste together until combined. Still beating gently, add the rest of the coconut milk, fish stock, fish sauce, sugar, lemongrass, lime leaves and turmeric. Bring to a boil and then add the pumpkin. Cook on a fast simmer until the pumpkin is tender, about 15 minutes, although different sorts of pumpkins can vary enormously in the time they take to cook; some squash take as little as 5 minutes.

2. You can cook the curry up till this part in advance, maybe leaving the pumpkin with a tiny bit of bite to it (it will soften and cook as the pan cools). Either way, when you’re about 5 minutes away from wanting to eat, get ready to cook the seafood.

3. So, to the robustly simmering pan, add the salmon and prawns (if you’re using the prawns from frozen they’ll need to go in before the salmon). When the salmon and prawns have cooked through, which shouldn’t take more than 3–4 minutes, stir in any green veg you’re using – sliced, chopped or shredded as suits – and tamp down with a wooden spoon. When the pak choi’s wilted, squeeze in the juice of half a lime, stir and taste and add the juice of the remaining half if you feel it needs it. Take the pan off the heat or decant the curry into a large bowl, and sprinkle over the coriander; the point is that the coriander goes in just before serving. Serve with more chopped coriander for people to add to their own bowls as they eat, and some plain Thai or basmati rice.


I’ve said 1–2 tablespoons of curry paste. This is because pastes vary enormously in their strengths and people vary enormously in their tastes. Some like it hot: I like it very hot – and use 2 tablespoonfuls. But it might be wiser to add 1 tablespoonful first and then taste later, once all the liquid’s in, to see if you want to add more. One last bossy note: if you can’t get raw prawns, don’t use cooked ones; just double the amount of salmon.
Nigella Lawson

Thai Yellow Pumpkin and Seafood Curry for Potluck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs.