Easy Pumpkin Curry from Sri Lanka is incredibly flavorful without being too spicy. Naturally vegan and gluten-free, this delicious and healthy family dinner can be on the table in 30 minutes.Jump to Recipe
Sri Lanka is one of our favorite destinations. We were amazed by the wide variety of landscapes, warm hospitality and wonderful food! Roughly the size of West Virginia, or the country of Belgium, Sri Lanka is an island nation in the Indian Ocean…and less than a 4-hour flight from Singapore. There’s a wide variety of things to do within such a small country — beautiful beaches, excellent surfing, wildlife safaris, cultural sites and even a chilly mountainous region with tea plantations.
If you like Indian food, you’ll LOVE Sri Lankan
If you like Indian food, you’ll LOVE Sri Lankan food. It has all the flavor, but with slightly less spice and a unique island vibe. Curries are super popular and our favorite was a Pumpkin Curry with red rice that we ate in the gorgeous town of Ella. Have you ever tried red rice? It’s everywhere in Sri Lanka! My kids don’t like brown rice (they say it tastes too healthy :)) but they were huge fans of red.
Butternut Squash or Japanese Pumpkin
Since it was Halloween last week and we were surrounded by pumpkins, we were inspired to make this curry at home. Unfortunately Halloween pumpkins can’t be used for much other than…well, carving. For this recipe, you can use either a butternut squash (called butternut pumpkin in Australia and New Zealand) or a Kabocha squash (which is called a Japanese pumpkin in the USA). We like to differentiate between a squash and a pumpkin, however, they are all members of the same family!
One-pot version on the table in 30 minutes
Making a curry can be time consuming, but this is one-pot version is on the table in 30 minutes. Mix together all of the vegetables and spices and saute in a bit of vegetable or coconut oil to enhance the flavors and aroma. Next, add the coconut milk and water, and simmer for about 20 minutes. For the final step, finish off the curry with just a bit of coconut cream once the pumpkin is fork tender. Honestly, that’s it! Trust me, it is one of the tastiest vegetarian dishes you’ve ever had.
Pumpkin Curry (Sri Lanka Style)
One-pot Pumpkin Curry from Sri Lanka is incredibly flavorful and not too spicy. Vegan and gluten-free, this healthy dinner can be on the table in less than 30 minutes.
- 2 cups diced butternut squash (1 inch) about 1 lb
- 1 onion sliced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 cup light coconut milk
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup coconut cream
- ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1 red chili de-seeded and sliced
- 8 fresh curry leaves
In a large bowl, mix together diced pumpkin, onion, garlic, cumin powder, curry powder, turmeric powder, and salt. (If you can find it, you can add fenugreek seeds, sliced chili and fresh curry leaves at this stage too).
Heat a tablespoon of vegetable or coconut oil in a large sauce pan until hot. Toss in the pumpkin and spice mixture. Saute, stirring constantly for 3-5 minutes until you can smell the aroma of the spices.
Reduce the heat to low and add 1 cup of coconut milk and ½ cup of water and the cinnamon stick. Stir the mixture again. Simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes or until the pumpkin is fork tender.
Add 1/4 cup thick coconut milk/cream. Stir gently and remove from the heat.
Serve with steamed rice.
You can use Japanese pumpkin (also known as Kabocha squash) instead of butternut squash. Don’t add the red chili if you really want it to be a mild curry.
Red rice is a great compliment and a very common side dish in Sri Lanka. You can also use white or brown rice.