You would think, that at the ages of 14 and 10, my children would have lost their fear of pumpkin (AKA buttkin, punkfart and orange-you-gonna-cook-me-some-potatoes-instead?), and I’d have been able to leave this recipe back in 2010 where it belongs. But, as discussed previously, they’re still coming to terms with healthy eating, something I’m assured will come with maturity (assuming boys ever mature).
Since they’ve both developed a love of butter chicken and my waistline just can’t take the quantity they seem to need, this old favourite still gets made again and again. It’s got less than half the calories, and, although the butter chicken deception doesn’t really pass 100% of the time, it’s still a dish they get excited about, especially when they walk into a house ripe with the aroma of tempered mustard and curry leaves (and after I’ve blitzed the pumpkin into a deceptive creamy sauce).
Chicken and pumpkin curry
- 4 medium-sized chicken breasts (about 750g), each cut into about 6 pieces
- 500g pumpkin, diced
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 10 curry leaves
- 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp cumin seeds (bruised)
- 1-2 tsp mild curry powder (depending on strength)
- 1/4 tsp tumeric
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder (optional)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 small tub natural yoghurt (approx 170g)
- olive oil and butter for roasting/pan-frying
- 1 cup frozen green peas (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 200ºC . Place the pumpkin in a roasting pan with a little olive oil and salt, and sprinkle with cumin seeds. Roast for about 20 minutes or until slightly browned and soft.
While this is happening, add a little oil to a hot pan, then the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add curry leaves, onion and garlic. Turn down the heat stir as they brown, then add the powdered spices. Finally stir in the cooked pumpkin and tomato paste. Add a little water if the spices start to burn.
Pulse with the stock cube and yoghurt in a blender until smooth. You may need to add a little water to get the blades moving through the mix.
Don’t wash the pan – heat it up again, with a knob of butter and brown the chicken. Then add in the puree, turn down the heat and simmer slowly for a further 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. If adding peas, do so in the last five minutes.