Fast dinners, versatile and full of flavour. That's what we all need, even when we're not in times of COVID-19. This Thai pumpkin and chickpea comes together quickly without any sacrifices for flavour. It's nourishing, health giving and absolutely delicious!
When I asked people what they wanted one of the most popular cuisines mentioned was Thai. It seemed people really miss their Thai takeaway as some businesses had closed.
I tried not to stockpile things but there are some things that I've made sure that I have at least one jar of and that is stock powder, coconut cream and curry pastes, especially Thai curry pastes. You only need 2 tablespoons of curry paste and some coconut milk or cream to make a wonderful Thai curry. I prefer buying coconut cream because you can add water to make it more like milk and we don't have a lot of pantry space.
Options for different vegetables: Feel free to use your favourite vegetables or what you have to hand and just adjust cooking times. Items like carrot and potato take the longest to cook so cut these up smaller pieces.
Vegetables like pumpkin and cubed eggplant take a medium amount of time to cook-the eggplant needs time to soak up the sauce. Cauliflower and broccoli only take 3 minutes or so to cook. Vegetables like snow peas, baby corn, mushrooms, zucchini green beans are quick to cook and will be ready within a minute.
Vegetables with a very high water content like bok choy are the fastest and only need 30 seconds or so. Just stagger when you add them to your curry so that you get the best texture when you eat them.
Chicken or fish? This also works really well with chicken, especially chopped up chicken thigh fillets which will cook within around 10-12 minutes if they're the cut into bite sized pieces. Fish pieces also work well in this curry and you only need to cook bite sized fish pieces for 3-4 minutes.
Tip with using curry pastes: I use all sorts of curry pastes from home made to shop bought but the key with using them is that you will have to add fish sauce (or a vegetarian substitute), sugar and lime juice to bring out the flavour. No matter how good the curry paste is, I'll always add these three ingredients.
Sweet salty sour spicy! You've probably heard about the 4 tenets of Thai cuisine which are sweet salty sour and spicy. It's the balance of these four flavours that makes Thai food so moreish. It also means that it's really important to taste Thai food as you're cooking it. Sometimes you'll add a bit more fish sauce to make it saltier, sometimes sugar to made it sweeter, sometimes lime juice to make it sour or chilli to make it spicy until you arrive at a dish where all the lights are going off in your brain and palate saying "YES!". For anyone new to cooking, I think this is one of the key things to gaining confidence with cooking and trusting you palate and you can then start to modify recipes and flavours after this. It's also a good habit to get into because you always should taste your food while cooking it.
We ate this Thai pumpkin and chickpea curry over dinner with Ivy and Ryan. Dinner together with friends became something altogether different. It was a virtual dinner where they were sitting at their apartment and us in ours.
There were some small technical hitches but then it all started working just fine. I live for these social interactions as I find isolation a massive challenge.
Our dinner party was a balm to the soul. We talked for almost 5 hours and it felt like we were right there in front of each other. I don't think we've ever gone out to dinner for that long. It was perhaps helped by the fact that we were able to have our dogs along (without having to sit outside). We also noticed that there wasn't a lot of noise so we could chat unimpeded by the noise of fellow patrons and we were completely relaxed in our home!
So tell me Dear Reader, have you tried virtual dinner parties? Do you taste your food as you cook it?
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
Easy Thai Red Curry With Pumpkin & Chickpea
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by 4 readers
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced
- 4 tablespoons/80ml/3flozs. oil
- 500g/1.1lbs pumpkin, peeled and sliced
- 2 cups/500ml/17.7flozs vegetable stock
- 400g/14oz tin chickpeas, drained
- 3 tablespoons/60ml/2flozs. fish sauce (or vegetarian subsitute)
- 1.5 tablespoons palm or white sugar
- Juice of 1/2 a lime
- 150ml/5flozs coconut cream
- Thai basil and coriander to serve
Step 1 - Heat a large pot on medium heat and then add the curry paste and cook for a minute. Add the oil and onion and sauté for a couple of minutes until the onions are softened.
Step 2 - Add the pumpkin and stock and place the lid on and bring to a boil and allow the pumpkin to steam for 15 minutes. Add the drained chickpeas and heat them through (they won't take long as they're already cooked). Then add the fish sauce, sugar and lime juice (to taste, sometimes I add more fish sauce or less, same with sugar and lime juice). Add the coconut cream, Thai basil and coriander and serve with steamed rice.