Every once in a while, believe it or not, I end up making something that (a) doesn’t require an oven and (b) isn’t a breakfast/dessert item. I certainly wouldn’t mind if everything I cooked fell into one of those two categories, but there are so many other foods out there worth eating that it is a shame to pass on them. Besides, most of them can be paired with an appropriate bread/baked side dish. In this case, I made a curry and the perfect side was a batch of freshly made naan.
This Pumpkin and Red Bean Curry was slightly adapted from a recipe in Super Food Ideas, a popular Australian food magazine. Not only are the recipes in this particular magazine tasty, but they’re usually pretty easy to make, which is always a plus for everyday cooking. The magazine, like many Australian cookbooks and other aussie food magazines, also contains many recipes that use pumpkin. Pumpkin, which can generally refer to most types of non-summer squashes, is far more popular in Australia than it is in the US and is used in a huge variety of dishes, while many US cookbooks limit its presence to pies (not that there is anything wrong with a good pumpkin pie!).
Slightly sweet and very versatile, pumpkin is a great ingredient to play around with and complements many flavorings. In this case, it is paired with curry and other spices to make a vegetarian main course. The spicing is fairly mild and can be changed to suit your personal preferences, adding less curry powder for a subtler taste or adding red pepper flakes for a bit more heat, but balances well with the pumpkin, tomato and beans in the curry. It is a good dish for winter because it is filling and, served in generous portions, will be more than enough to ward off the chill on a cold night. It is also a good dish to make during the summer because the curry comes out in a fairly large batch and can be eaten over the course of several days, which means less time in the kitchen when it is hot out.
Pumpkin and Red Bean Curry
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp curry powder
16-oz pumpkin/butternut squash, cubed
28-oz diced stewed tomatoes (canned)
16-oz red beans (soaked or canned), drained
1 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
salt, to taste
In a medium/large saucepan, combine olive oil and onions over medium heat. Cook for several minutes, until onions are just tender. Add in garlic and spices and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in pumpkin, tomatoes and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low until pumpkin is tender. When pumpkin is fully cooked, add in a pinch of salt to further season the curry and stir in the fresh spinach. Cook until spinach has slightly wilted, then serve, preferably with naan.