Burmese curries are relatively simple to make but they burst with delicate flavors. Unlike their Indian and Thai counterparts, they are subtle, highlighting the vegetables rather than drowning them in spices. This is one of those perfect subtle curries.
This is a super simple curry to make. The tender pumpkin is in a wonderful tart sauce that is spiced with a hint of heat. The sweet pumpkin shines in the curry and absorbs the flavors, especially if enjoyed the next day. This is a dish that will surprise your guests, so make extra. As a variation, you can make this dish with sweet potatoes instead of pumpkins. For pumpkins, use any variety, but the hard yellow pumpkins are best.
This is my favorite cookbook for Burmese cuisine. Wonderful, well researched recipes from all across Myanmar, this is a cookbook I come back to often. I also have most of Naomi Daguid’s other cookbooks and absolutely admire her work, her writing and all the travel and research she puts into every one of her books.
For more wonderful recipes from this cookbook, click here.
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon shallots, sliced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon dried shrimp powder (omit for vegan and vegetarian version)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
A few drops fish sauce (omit for vegan and vegetarian version)
1 cup water
Salt, to taste
1 lb peeled and diced pumpkin
2-3 tablespoons tamarind paste
Cilantro, minced, to garnish
Heat the oil on a low flame in a pot and add the turmeric. Fry for 10 seconds and add the shallots, garlic, and ginger and cook for 3-4 minutes till soft and translucent. Add the dried shrimp powder, if using, and give a quick stir. Add the chili powder and fish sauce, if using, and continue to fry for 30 seconds.
Add the pumpkin pieces and turn the heat up to medium. Sauté the pumpkin pieces coating them with the spices for 2-3 minutes. Add the water, tamarind and the salt and mix in well. Simmer closed for 15 minutes till the pumpkins are cooked and quite soft. The cooking time will depend on the type of pumpkins you used and the size you have cut the pieces into.
When the pumpkins are cooked, open the pot and simmer till the water reduces down a bit and you have a thick sauce.
Serve hot garnished with cilantro and with rice on the side.