Roast Pumpkin Red Curry

roast pumpkin red curry

Roast Pumpkin Red Curry came about because a dear friend gave me a gorgeous hunk of Japanese Black pumpkin grown in her garden. Have you ever seen a Futsu black squash? They are the most intriguing pumpkins. The squat globes have deeply ribbed, bumpy skin ranging from green to black that matures to dusty tan. The flesh inside is a beautiful contrasting golden orange.

My friend’s squash was so large she divided it up and gave sections to friends. I still ended up with over two pounds of fresh, organic deliciousness. I decided to honor her kindness and Indonesian heritage by making a red curry from her gift. Wow, I was so happy I made a roasted pumpkin curry with her native spices. The fragrant lemongrass, Makrut lime leaf, red chili paste, and rich coconut milk came together with the pumpkin to make one of the tastiest curries I have ever had.

I have to admit the sweetness of her organic pumpkin contributed significantly to the recipe I created. In fact, the dish was so incredible I was compelled to plant seeds from the squash in my garden. However, I have some good news for you. I have made this meal with great success several times since, with different varieties of pumpkin and winter squash. Everyone at the table loves this delicious curry topped with toasted cashews.

To make it yourself, choose a squash with smooth, dense flesh like Butternut or Kabocha. If you are lucky enough to find it, use Japanese Futsu. Roasting sweetens the squash, and the rest of the curry is a snap to throw together. Plus, you can easily adjust the level of spiciness from mild to extra hot. Slippery rice noodles are perfect with this luscious Roast Pumpkin Red Curry. We like this whole-grain option. 

roast pumpkin red curry

Roast Pumpkin Red Curry

Roast pumpkin curry in rich coconut milk. Seasoned with shallot, red chili paste, fragrant lemongrass and Makrut lime leaves. Whole food, dairy-free and gluten-free.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Indonesian, Plant-Based
Cooking Skill Intermediate
Servings 4
Author poppyswildkitchen


  • 1 lb. peeled, cubed pumpkin or butternut squash
  • 1 TB coconut oil, divided
  • 1 TB smashed, finely minced fresh lemongrass
  • 1 TB minced shallot
  • 2 whole cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 2 whole Makrut lime leaves*
  • 1/2 tsp. Himalayan pink salt
  • 1-3 TB sambal oelek red chili paste to taste
  • 12 ounces rich frozen coconut milk, about 1 1/2 cups thawed
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup Thai basil leaves


Roast Squash

  • Toss the cubed squash with a light sprinkle of coconut oil and a pinch of salt. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast at 425 degrees. Depending on the freshness of the squash, this can take any where from 10-30 minutes. Take the squash from the oven when tender and starting to brown, but not mushy. Don't overcook.

Make Curry Sauce

  • While the squash is roasting, heat 2 teaspoons of the coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat. Add lemon grass, shallot, garlic, ginger, Makrut lime and salt. Stir quickly until spices are fragrant. Take care not to burn. Add coconut milk and chili paste to taste. Remove from heat.

Assemble Curry

  • When squash is tender, add to the sauce and gently bring curry almost to a boil. Turn off heat, cover with a lid and let sit while sautéing cashews.

Saute Cashews

  • Heat 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the cashews and stir while cooking until golden.  Serve the curry with Asian style rice noodles. We like Annie Chun's whole grain brown rice Pad Thai noodles the best. 


Premium frozen coconut milk without any gums or additives makes the best curry.
Peel off the tough outer layer of lemon grass and use the tender white tender part nearer the bulb end for this preparation.  Smash lemon grass before chopping to release the oils.  
Fresh lemon grass and Makrut lime leaves are essential to this curry. There really isn’t any substitute for either. If you can’t find Makrut lime leaves, you can change the curry to a different version. It will be delicious in it’s own right. Just leave out the Makrut lime leaves. At end of cooking, stir in 1/3 cup fresh Thai or lemon basil. Garnish curry with more fresh basil leaves.
*Makrut lime leaves are also called Kaffir lime leaves. Out of cultural respect,  I don’t use the term Kaffir as it is a racial slur and a misplaced name for this citrus.
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