Recipe: Potato and Pumpkin Chicken Curry

Potato and pumpkin chicken curry served with fresh snow peas.

I like pumpkin. I like potatoes. I like chicken. And I like curry. Poof! Put it all together and what do you get? A very likable and delicious pumpkin and potato chicken curry that goes well with rice or on its own.

This recipe has been adapted from variations of similar recipes. I never make a dish quite the same, as I’m constantly experimenting with what’s available wherever I’m at in the world. 

Here’s what you’ll need to make enough for two people to have dinner, as well as some leftovers for lunch: 
- A spoonful or four of oil (I use olive oil)
- One medium-sized onion, or lots of little onions, or a really big one
- Fresh or dried garlic cloves
- A piece of ginger root or a little ginger powder
- Turmeric (just don’t use too much, or you’ll make a yellow mess)
- A bit of cumin or cumin seeds
- Throw in some curry powder  
- Freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
- A can or two of coconut milk
- Some tomato paste 
- A huge carrot (sliced)
- Six cups (or so) of diced pumpkin
- Three or four smallish potatoes
- Two large chicken breasts (cut into bite-sized pieces) 
- Lemon pepper (or black pepper) to taste
- Salt to taste (I use garlic sea salt)
Don’t stress if you don’t have everything. Improvise and share your ideas! I made this version with ingredients available in Yangon, Myanmar.

Here’s what you could do, or figure out your own, creative way of putting it all together:

Heat oil in a large saucepan, or an electric wok (if you’re like me, and that’s all you have), Sauté the garlic and onion for about five minutes. Now would be a good time to toss in some chili peppers if you want things to get hot.

Stir in the turmeric, curry, cumin, and whatever else you want. Add the coconut milk, lemon juice (or lime), tomato paste, carrot, pumpkin, and potatoes. Bring everything to a boil and simmer until the pumpkin and potatoes are tender. Add water as necessary.

Waiting for the pumpkin and potatoes to cook will feel like forever, but keep occupied by cleaning up the kitchen or something. I always make such a mess.

If you happen to have a blender, pureeing the pumpkin with the coconut milk ahead of time will significantly cut back on waiting so long.

I suggest adding the chicken just before the pumpkin and potatoes are ready. If you add the chicken too soon, it will be tough by the time the pumpkin and potatoes have softened. Crunchy carrots add a nice touch to this dish, so don’t worry about those.

For some color variation and nutritional flair, try this dish with steamed snow peas on the side. You can even cook them with everything else. Just don’t put them in until the end. Allow them to steam on top for about five minutes, while the chicken cooks, so they remain crisp and bright. Enjoy!