Red Curry with Pumpkin & Potatoes

Serves 2 to 3 with rice


I couldn’t decide which curry was more popular, so I’ve included both red and green version of the wildly popular Thai curries. Red in this instance doesn’t mean stop, but instead go go go to a slightly sweet and spicy pale red curry that’s enhanced with pumpkin and potato for a dish that’s both invigorating and soothing. Smoky, fruity Mexican ancho chile powder compliments the red Thai chiles by enriching the color without adding too much fire.


Tip: Pickled, or lightly brined bamboo shoots can be purchased in cans, jars, or in some Asian markets in bulk. They may have a very strong odor (a little medicinal, a little bit chemical) that can be a little freaky; to quiet it down, drain, then soak the shoots (usually pre-sliced into shreds) in cool water for 20 minutes, then drain and rinse again. A little of the odor will linger, but once cooked the flavor will mellow into the intense curry.


Tip: Reduced fat coconut milk won’t taste as rich as the full fat stuff, but it’s a welcome addition to this flavoful curry if you want all the nuances but less of the fat.


Curry Paste:

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds

6 to 8 fresh red Thai chiles, stems removed

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

2 ½ teaspoons Ancho chile powder or any mild, red Mexican chile powder

2 large shallots, peeled and chopped in half

4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped in half

1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves removed and chopped or 2 tablespoons prepared lemongrass

1 inch thick piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

½ teaspoon sea salt


Vegetable Curry

1 tablespoon vegetable or coconut oil


One 14 ounce can coconut milk, reduced fat or regular

1 1/2 cups mild vegetable broth or water

4 kaffir lime leaves, fresh or frozen or the peel from 1 organic lime, sliced into 1 inch wide pieces

1 tablespoon lime juice

4 teaspoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon of Thai thin soy sauce or more to taste

1/2 recipe Pressed Baked Tofu or 8 ounces purchased baked or fried tofu, diced into 1 inch cubes

2 to 2 1/2 cups peeled and diced kobocha pumpkin (little more than 1/2 pound)

1 large potato, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes (about 1/2 pound)

1 cup thinly sliced jarred or canned bamboo shoots or baby corn, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup lightly packed Thai basil leaves


1. Prepare the curry paste first: In a small skillet over medium heat toast the coriander, cumin seeds, and fenugreek for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Grind the toasted seeds in a clean coffee mill into a fine powder, then transfer to a food processor along with the remaining paste ingredients to a food processor and pulse into a smooth, thick paste. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the processor bowl frequently.


2. In a 2 quart pot melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the curry paste, stir with a wooden spoon or heat resistant rubber spatula and stir fry for 1 minute. Add the tofu and fry for 2 minutes, stirring to coat with the fried curry paste. Stir in the coconut milk, vegetable broth, lime leaves, lime juice, brown sugar, and Thai thin soy sauce. Increase heat to medium high, simmer for 2 minutes then reduce heat to medium low.


3. Add the tofu, pumpkin, potato, and bamboo shoots and simmer for another 25 to 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in the basil leaves and simmer another minute. Taste and season with more soy sauce and lime juice if desired. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with hot rice.