Karen Martini's pumpkin and chickpea coconut curry

Chunky pumpkin and chickpea curry.
Chunky pumpkin and chickpea curry. Photo: William Meppem

This is an intense, fragrant curry that can easily be made vegan if you use coconut oil rather than ghee. Its sweet, rich hotness means it wants for nothing, bar some rice and perhaps wilted greens.


4½ tbsp coriander seeds

150g cashews

1 onion, finely diced

5 garlic cloves, sliced

10cm piece ginger, peeled and sliced

1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, finely sliced

20 curry leaves

3 bird's-eye chillies, chopped

1 bunch coriander, leaves picked, stems and roots finely sliced

80ml ghee, coconut oil or olive oil

1½ tbsp curry powder

2 tsp ground cardamom

1 tbsp salt flakes

800g pumpkin, peeled and cut into 6cm chunks

400g cooked chickpeas (or a 400g tin of chickpeas)

400ml coconut cream

25g palm sugar, grated

7 makrut lime leaves, 3 very finely shredded

1 lime, juiced

jasmine rice, to serve


1. Toast the coriander seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat until fragrant, then grind lightly using a mortar and pestle. Toast the cashews in the same pan over a high heat until a little charred, then set aside.

2. Place the onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, curry leaves, chilli and coriander stems and roots in a blender with a tablespoon of the ghee or oil and blitz to a rough paste.

3. Add the remaining ghee or oil to a large saucepan over a medium heat and fry the paste for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the ground coriander seeds, curry powder, cardamom and salt, and stir through briefly until fragrant. Stir in the pumpkin to coat. Add the chickpeas, coconut cream, palm sugar, whole lime leaves and 850ml of water. Bring to a simmer and cook over a low heat for about 35 minutes.

4. Stir in the cashews and cook for 10 minutes, then squeeze in the lime. Serve with the shredded lime leaves and coriander leaves scattered over the top, and steamed rice.