I only use half the rendang paste this recipe makes – stash the remainder in the freezer for when the emergency need for curry calls. Puffed black rice is available from health food stores or make your own (see below). It adds a spectacular crunch to this recipe. The roasted pumpkin skin contrasts against the softness of the caramelised pumpkin and the curry sauce.
1 Japanese pumpkin (about 1.5kg), cut into 4-6 thick wedges
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp Malaysian curry powder (I recommend Herbie's Malay curry powder)
500ml (2 cups) stock
400ml can coconut milk or coconut cream
8 red chillies, roughly chopped (seeds removed if you want to reduce the heat)
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
5cm-piece ginger (about 30g), roughly chopped
2 small red onions, roughly chopped
125ml (½ cup) coconut oil
1 tbsp Malaysian curry powder
1 cup shredded coconut, toasted
6 fresh curry leaves
1 tbsp paprika
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp brown sugar
juice of 1 lime
fresh coriander leaves (about 1 tbsp per serve)
¼ cup toasted coconut flakes
¼ cup puffed black rice*
¼ cup fried shallots
steamed rice or coconut rice
1. Preheat oven to 155C (175C conventional) and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
2. Add the pumpkin wedges, oil, sugar and curry powder to a bowl and toss to coat. Arrange on the prepared tray and roast in the oven for 45 minutes or until cooked through and caramelised on the edges.
3. While the pumpkin is cooking, make the rendang paste. Put the paste ingredients in a blender and blitz into a coarse paste. Ensure the fibrous bits of lemongrass have been properly macerated in the paste. (Reserve half the paste for another use.)
4. Place a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the paste and cook until fragrant and it starts to split. Add the coconut cream or coconut milk and cook until it looks like it has split. Add the stock then reduce and simmer for the remainder of the time the pumpkin is cooking (about 40 to 50 minutes). The curry sauce should reduce by about one third and thicken slightly. If the sauce hasn't thickened by the end of the pumpkin's cooking time, continue to simmer over a low heat until it generously coats the back of a spoon. Alternatively, if your sauce is reducing too rapidly, slowly add more coconut milk or stock, about one tablespoon at a time.
5. To serve transfer the pumpkin wedges to a large serving bowl. Pour over the reduced rendang sauce and top with coriander leaves, coconut flakes, puffed rice and fried shallots. Serve immediately with steamed rice or coconut rice.
*To make puffed black rice heat two cups of rice bran oil in a medium saucepan until sizzling. Throw in a grain of rice and if it sizzles and swirls on top, the oil is hot and ready to go. Add one-quarter cup raw black rice grains and fry until the rice puffs a little and you can see marks of white on the grains – this will happen very quickly (15 to 30 seconds). Remove using a slotted spoon, shake off excess oil, then place on a plate lined with paper towel to dry completely. Leave the oil to cool, then strain into a container for another use.
Find more of Katrina Meynink's recipes in the Good Food Favourite Recipes cookbook.