Pumpkin Curry (Colombo au Giraumon)
Colombo is a loose term for a Caribbean-style curry, originating from the name of the Sri Lankan capital, introduced to the islands below by migrant Hindus who brought their spice mixtures with them in the mid-1800s. Though Caribbeans use a lot of pork in their cooking, it's quite likely that the original Hindu version would have been vegetarian.
2 tablespoons sunflower or vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green (bell) pepper, chopped
1 cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
, crushed or 1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cinnamon stick
1 of saffron threads
1 pound 2 ounces pumpkin, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 medium tomatoes, chopped salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk
1 large garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
freshly cooked plain rice, to serve
Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the oil. Add the onion and pepper and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the spices and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the pumpkin and tomatoes and cook until the tomato softens. Add a little salt (more is added with garlic at the end) and pepper and the coconut milk. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and keeping the cinnamon stick submerged, until the pumpkin is soft and beginning to collapse. Depending on the type of pumpkin used, further cooking may reduce to a smooth puree, so choose your consistency -- chunky or smooth.
To finish, crush the garlic with the salt in a mortar until smooth and stir into the curry. Simmer for a further 5 minutes. Serve with plain boiled rice.
This is based on a recipe from Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz's Caribbean Cooking, which calls for a special Colombo "curry powder." Instead, I have elected five spices that seem typical of Colombo curries. The result is sublime, especially if you use a sweet, dense-fleshed pumpkin.