This hearty, fragrant curry is served with a wedge of roasted pumpkin. It looks fabulous and the sweetness balances nicely with the spices, but you could serve it with rice or flatbread too.
Ingredients (serves 4, generously)
½ small pumpkin, scrubbed clean, deseeded & cut into 4 wedges
1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ghee or coconut oil
½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
2 brown onions, skinned & diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cm piece of ginger, skinned & finely grated
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
1 Tablespoon sweet paprika
1 Tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon chilli powder, or to taste
½ cup tomato puree (passata)
2 cm piece fresh turmeric, grated (substitute ½ teaspoon turmeric powder if unavailable)
8 cardamom pods, bruised
1 cinnamon quill
1 lemongrass stick, white part only, bruised
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
1 kg chicken thighs, each cut into 3
1 can coconut cream
1 cup baby spinach leaves
½ cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1 lime, quartered
sea salt, to taste
- Preheat 180°C. Melt 2 teaspoons ghee or oil on a baking tray. Add pumpkin wedges and rub with ghee or oil. Season then bake for about 1 hour, or until well-browned and tender. Keep warm.
- Melt remaining ghee or oil in a heavy bottom saucepan over a medium heat. Add fenugreek seeds and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the brown onions and sauté for 5 minutes, or until transparent but not brown. Stir in the garlic and ginger then add fennel seeds and powdered spices: stir until fragrant.
- Stir in the tomato puree, turmeric, remaining spices, lemongrass and fish sauce. Add the chicken thighs and stir to coat. Cover, turn the heat down to low and simmer for about an hour, until the chicken is very tender. Add a little water to prevent it drying out if you need to but try not to add too much as this will dull the flavour. Conversely, if the curry is too wet turn the heat up slightly and cook for the final 20 minutes uncovered. Carefully pick out the whole spices. Stir in the coconut cream and warm through then season to taste.
- To serve, place a pumpkin wedge in each warm serving bowl. Divide the baby spinach leaves over the top and then the curry too. Garnish with coriander leaves and a piece of lime on the side.