pumpkin curry

Pumpkin Curry Recipe

Updated: November 19, 2023, By Swasthi, Comments, Jump to Recipe

This Pumpkin Curry is simply the best with full flavors and deliciousness! An easy one-pot dish layered with so many fabulous flavors from pumpkin, spices, onions, tomatoes, herbs, coconut or almonds (optional). This Homestyle Pumpkin Curry is healthy, comforting and a go-to meat-free dish. It goes well over hot steamed rice, quinoa, and millets. Pumpkin curry can also be eaten with Poori, Chapati/ roti, Paratha, Butter Naan or other kinds of flatbreads or even with Dosas & bread. It is Vegan & Gluten-free!

Pumpkin curry



About Pumpkin Curry

This Pumpkin Curry is made in Indian style, where diced pumpkin is simmered in a curry base made with chopped onions, tomatoes, garam masala, cumin and other pantry staples. Various whole and ground spices compliment the earthy sweet flavor of pumpkin.

Coconut milk or almond milk is optionally used to enhance the nutty flavor and sweet notes of the dish.

This is a South & North Indian fusion recipe, so you will find ingredients from both South & North Indian cuisines. The original recipe from my Mom has been tweaked, resulting in an extremely flavorful and delicious curry.

Originally Black Chickpeas also known as Kala Chana were added to this pumpkin kurma curry, which imparts a nutty and earthy flavor to the dish. However you may add some marinated and pan-fried tofu or Black eyed peas or white chickpeas just like the way I did.

You can refer to this Tofu Curry recipe to marinate & pan-fry the tofu first. Add the tofu cubes towards the end, before finishing the dish.

Fresh coconut paste is another ingredient that went into this traditional dish, which can be replaced with coconut milk or almond milk. You may simply leave out as well. But I prefer to use almond milk which I make by grinding almond flour (or almonds) with little water. If canned coconut milk fits into your diet, you may use that as well.

The combination of spices is what makes this pumpkin curry taste so good, so I would suggest using all the spices if possible, including the whole spices. I have more details in the pro tips section below.

More Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Recipes
Butternut Squash Curry
Kaddu ki Sabzi
Pumpkin pulusu
Dal Pumpkin
Pumkin halwa
Pumpkin kheer

Indian pumpkin curry

How to Make Pumpkin Curry (Stepwise Photos)

Preparation

1. For this recipe, you will need about 350 grams pumpkin (12 ounces), about 2 ½ to 3 cups. A little more or less is just fine. I use precut diced pumpkin from the stores for convenience. I have also used 1 cup prepared chickpeas (soaked overnight & boiled until tender). You may use canned chickpeas, drain the liquid and rinse them well. You can also leave out the chickpeas if you want.

diced pumpkin and chickpeas

2. You will need

  • 1 ¼ cup fine chopped onions (1 large or 2 medium onions)
  • 1 ¼ cup deseeded and chopped tomatoes (or 1 cup puree)
  • 1 green chilli (chopped, deseed for low heat, optional)
  • ½ tablespoon grated ginger or paste (½ inch peeled)
  • ½ tablespoon grated garlic (or paste, 4 to 5 cloves)

3. Spices you need: Feel free to leave out the whole spices if you don’t have

  • 1 bay leaf or 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 2 inch cinnamon piece (or ½ inch cassia)
  • 1 star anise

4. Measure the ground spices and keep aside as you won’t have much time to do that while you cook.

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Kashmiri Red chilli powder (adjust to taste, I use 2 tsps)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coriander powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon fennel powder (leave it, if you don’t have)
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Make Pumpkin Curry

5. Pour 3 tablespoons oil to a pan and heat it. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon and star anise.

6. When they begin to sizzle, add the chopped onions and green chilies. Rise the heat to medium high and stir fry until deep golden. If required switch between low & medium flame/heat. This step takes about 6 to 7 mins.

7. Lower the heat and stir in the ginger garlic. Mix and saute for a minute or so without burning.

8. Quickly add all the ground spices and salt.

9. Mix well.

10. Add the pumpkin and then the tomatoes.

11. Stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes on a medium heat.

12. Cover and cook on a medium to low heat until the tomatoes break down. This step takes about 5 to 6 mins. Meanwhile bring 1 cup water to a boil in another small pot.

13. Pour 1 cup hot water and add boiled chickpeas (if using). Pour ¾ cup Coconut or almond milk. To make the almond milk, I grind 4 tablespoons almond flour with ¼ cup water until smooth. Then add ¼ cup more water and then grind again.

14. Increase the flame/heat and bring the curry to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat and cover. Cook until the pumpkin is fork tender and about to get mushy. As you cook, if required add more boiling hot water. This depends on the kind of your pumpkin. I had to add another ½ cup hot water.

15. Stir well and taste test. Add the following ingredients according to your taste:

  • ½ teaspoon garam masala (more if you want)
  • 1 tablespoon kasuri methi
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon jaggery (or brown sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon amchur (or tamarind paste). Crush the kasuri methi before adding to the curry.

16. Mix well. Curry should be thick, yet of pouring consistency. It will thicken further after cooling. If your curry is runny, cook uncovered on a high heat for a few minutes so some of the liquid evaporates.

17. Turn off the heat. If you want you may add a teaspoon/ tablespoon of ghee. Garnish pumpkin curry with fresh chopped coriander leaves. If you want you may squeeze in some lemon juice while serving.

Serve Pumpkin Curry with hot steamed rice, quinoa, millets, roti or Paratha.

Pumpkin curry recipe

Pro Tips

Tomatoes: You can use fresh tomatoes or tomato puree (passata). If using canned tomatoes that has citric acid added to it, your pumpkin will take longer to cook down or may take forever. So it is good to add it later once the pumpkin is nearly tender.

Onions: If you do not prefer onions, you may leave out from the recipe. But if using, make sure you saute them well until deep golden as this not only enhances the flavor of the dish, but the onions will also dissolve in the curry giving a better texture to the dish.

Coconut: If you have access to fresh coconut, you may grind 1/3 cup fresh coconut with 1/3 cup water until very smooth, adding more water as required. Do not use desiccated coconut. Too much coconut milk is going to dilute the flavor of spices and your dish will only taste like coconut milk.

Ingredients

Bay Leaf: Please avoid using very old bay leaf as sometimes it gives a bitter taste to the dish. You may skip it if you do not have fresh stock. You can also use curry leaves if you have.

Star Anise: is a very fragrant spice & is also known as Biryani flower. It adds a natural sweet-liquorice peppery flavour. It imparts a floral aroma which is not very overpowering but some people can’t get over this scent. Feel free to leave out if you do not like. But I feel star anise together with cinnamon infuses great flavors to the diced pumpkin.

Amchur or Tamarind Paste: Amchur is dried mango powder. It has a fruity and tangy flavor. If it is not available, you may use Indian tamarind or tamarind paste. This is sour in taste and not sweet like the Thai tamarind. If you don’t have both, simply, leave out and squeeze lemon juice while serving.

Red Chilli Powder is pure chilli powder. For this recipe I use Kashmiri chilli powder (Labelled as Kashmirilal). If using any other chilli powder, start with lesser quantity (about ¾ tsp) as the strength/heat varies.

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

pumpkin curry recipe

Pumpkin Curry Recipe

5 from 115 votes
This Indian Pumpkin Curry is delicious, flavorful and easy to make. Serve it over rice or with roti, poori, naan or any flatbreads, bread or with dosa.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Servings5
AuthorSwasthi

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • 350 grams pumpkin (12 ounces, about 2 ½ to 3 cups diced)
  • 1 cup chickpeas (cooked or canned or rajma, read notes, optional)
  • 1 ¼ cup onions (fine chopped, 1 large onion)
  • 1 ¼ cup tomatoes (deseeded & fine chopped, 2 large or 1 cup tomato puree)
  • 1 green chilli (optional, Chopped, Indian/Thai or Serrano peppers)
  • ½ tablespoon ginger paste or grated (½ inch peeled & grated)
  • ½ tablespoon garlic paste (4 to 5 grated cloves)
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 to 1 ½ teaspoon salt (½ + 1 tsp, divided)
  • 1 to 1 ½ cups hot water (add in batches)
  • ¾ cup coconut milk (or 4 tablespoons almond flour blend with ½ cup water)
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves (fine chopped)

Ground Spices

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Kashmiri Red chilli powder (adjust to taste, I use 2 tsps)
  • teaspoon garam masala (1 + ½ tsp, divided, more if you want)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • teaspoons coriander powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon fennel powder (leave it, if you don’t have)
  • 1 tablespoon Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves, leave it, if you don’t have)
  • 1 to 1½ teaspoon amchur powder (or tamarind paste or lemon juice, adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon jaggery (or brown sugar, optional, to balance the flavors)

Whole Spices (optional)

  • 1 Indian bay leaf or 1 sprig curry leaves (optional)
  • 2 inch cinnamon piece (or ½ inch cassia, optional)
  • 1 star anise (optional)


Instructions

How to Make Pumpkin Curry

  • Heat a pot with oil and add bay leaf, cinnamon and star anise.
  • When they begin to sizzle in the oil, add onions and green chilies.
  • Stir fry them until deep golden, switching between medium to low flames & vice versa as required.
  • Lower the flame, add ginger garlic and saute for about a minute, until the raw smell has gone.
  • Stir in ½ tsp salt and ground spices – red chilli powder, 1 teaspoon garam masala, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric and fennel powder.
  • Quickly add the pumpkin and mix well. Stir in the tomatoes and stir fry for 2 to 3 mins.
  • Cover and cook on a medium to low flame until the tomatoes turn mushy. This takes about 5 to 7 mins.
  • Pour 1 cup hot water and add chickpeas (if using). Pour Coconut or almond milk.
  • Rise the flame and bring the curry to a rolling boil. Reduce the flame and cook covered until the pumpkin is fork tender and about to get mushy. As you cook, if required add more boiling hot water, this depends on your pumpkin. I had to add another ½ cup hot water.
  • Mix well and taste test. Add the following ingredients according to taste – ½ to 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon garam masala, kasuri methi, jaggery (sugar) and amchur (or tamarind paste). Crush the kasuri methi before adding to the pan.
  • Pumpkin curry should be thick, yet of pouring consistency as it thickens further after cooling. If your curry is runny, cook uncovered on a high heat for a few minutes so some of the liquid evaporates.
  • Turn off and rest the pumpkin curry covered until serving. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves. If you want you may squeeze in some lemon juice while serving.
  • Serve with Poori, Roti, Paratha, Naan, plain steamed rice, quinoa or millets.


Notes

  1. To save time, chop the onions and begin with the recipe. Prepare the rest as you cook.
  2. You may skip the whole spices if you don’t have but they impart  unique deep flavors to the dish.
  3. If using canned chickpeas, rinse them well and make sure they are soft and tender before adding to the curry. Undercooked chickpeas won’t cook further in the curry due to the acidic ingredient like tomato.
  4. To use dry chickpeas, rinse and soak 1/3 cup chickpeas overnight. The next morning pressure cook them with 1/2 cup water in a instant pot for 18 minutes or in the stove top cooker for 3 whistles.
  5. You can use black chickpeas or even rajma if you like the flavor.
  6. To replace coconut milk, grind together 4 tablespoons of almond flour (or 12 to 14 soaked and peeled almonds) with 1/4 cup water until smooth. Add another 1/4 cup water and grind again.

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.

Video

Watch Pumpkin Curry Video

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Pumpkin Curry Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 190 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 19mg6%
Sodium 401mg17%
Potassium 738mg21%
Carbohydrates 22g7%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 7685IU154%
Vitamin C 115mg139%
Calcium 40mg4%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

Pumpkin Kootu Curry (Recipe 2, No onion & garlic)

Pumpkin curry made with ground spices and coconut in a kootu style. No onion and garlic are used. Makes a good side dish to accompany rice, chapathi, phulka or poori

pumpkin kootu curry

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings 3

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

To roast and grind
1 tablespoon coriander seeds (daniyalu)
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon chana dal (bengal gram)
1 tablespoon urad dal (skinned black gram, optional)
¼ cup fresh coconut (or thick coconut milk, refer notes)
3 to 4 dried red chilies
1 inch cinnamon piece (ceylon cinnamon or ¼ inch cassia)
To temper/ tadka
1 pinch hing /asafoetida
1 red chili broken
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
1½ tablespoon ghee or oil
Other ingredients
2 cups pumpkin red, cubed / gummadikaya / kaddu
1 large tomato (½ cup chopped finely)
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ to ¾ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
½ to 1 tablespoon tamarind paste (optional if needed)

Instructions

  • On a low to medium heat, dry roast red chilies, chana dal and urad dal till deep golden & aromatic. Make sure lentils are not burnt but they should be roasted evenly so they make the dish flavorful. Transfer to a plate.
  • To the same pan add coriander seeds, cumin, cinnamon and lightly roast until fragrant.
  • Don’t let them burn. Cool all of these completely and powder them in a blender to a fine powder.
  • To the same jar, add coconut along with little water and blend to a smooth paste. If you do not own a powerful blender, let the mixture soak for about 30 minutes in water and make a fine paste adding more water as needed.
  • Heat a pan with ghee or oil on a low flame.
  • Add mustard, cumin and red chili. When they begin to splutter, add curry leaves and hing. Set aside little of this seasoning for garnishing. I set aside few curry leaves and red chili along with very little mustard and cumin.
  • Add tomatoes, salt and turmeric. Fry the tomatoes till they turn soft, mushy and dry. If needed cover and cook, you can even sprinkle little water if your tomatoes are hard.
  • Next add pumpkin cubes and fry stirring for about 2 to 3 minutes. Ensure the tomatoes turn completely mushy and dry before adding pumpkin.
  • Pour 1 to 1½ cups of water to the pan and bring it to a boil.
  • Add the ground paste & mix well.
  • Cook it on a low flame till the pumpkin is tender. If needed you can cover and cook. Don’t overcook, pumpkin turns mushy. Keep stirring, the mixture tends to stick at the bottom due to the dal. If required pour more water to adjust the consistency.
  • Add tamarind and mix well. Check the salt and tang. If you like to have it sour you can add more tamarind paste, but I do not use.
  • Transfer pumpkin curry to a serving bowl and garnish with the curry leaves and broken red chilies.
  • Notes : Fresh coconut is best for this recipe. You can use 1/4 tsp ground Ceylon cinnamon or 1 large pinch of ground cassia. Roasting lentils on a medium to low heat until deep golden and aromatic is very important.
Pumpkin Curry Recipe

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
Thank you, I made this for a dinner party and my guests loved it. I used tamarind instead of amchoor. The balance of flavours was perfect. This is going to be a staple recipe for me from now on.

5 stars
I made this pumpkin curry and it was wonderful. Everyone in the family from my 6 yr old to his grandparents loved it and went for seconds. Served over brown rice to make a hearty and wholesome meal. Thank you for sharing the recipe

5 stars
I think I have never eaten any curry as good as this. I used 1 heaped tablespoon almond butter and no coconut milk. I omitted fenugreek, amchur and fennel. My family says it is amazing with lemon juice. Going to my top favorite list.

Hi Swathi,
Thank you for sharing this recipe – as a long time follower of yours though, it looks like your original recipe for pumpkin kutoo has subsequently disappeared (the recipe which was just pumpkin, with a ground spice mix etc). Could you please put that recipe back up or email me the recipe? My family really loved that recipe and I’m so sad that I don’t have it anymore. Many thanks

THANK YOU SO MUCH SWATHI!!! I truly appreciate this!! Looking forward to making this delicious recipe again!

5 stars
I made this last night for my family and it was a hit! I did add more spices as recommended as I tasted. The addition of lemon was key in my opinion. I will be making this again and again. Mahalo for the great directions.

Can you use a slow cooker for the recipe?

I made this tonight and have some questions. Mainly- why is mine so bland?!? I used coconut milk and lemon juice. I used most of the ground and whole spices (I didn’t have fennel, coriander, star anise or fenugreek) Could my spices be too old? I’m hoping it will mix better as it sits.

4 stars
A bit blend although we doubled the spices. Added some black mustard seeds and fresh coriander which made a big difference. Nevertheless a great recipe and a keeper 🙂 Thx.

Which type of onions do you prefer for this recipe?

5 stars
So wonderful! I was a little intimidated by the ingredient list and had to sub a few things but your instructions were so clear and helpful. Served this with jasmine rice and black lentils. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

5 stars
Delicious, My house smells amazing!

5 stars
Thank You

5 stars
Delicious!!! I’ve made this three times, with varying levels of spices. I love it. Thank you!

5 stars
Wow! This is fantastic! I didn’t have pumpkin, so I used acorn squash. It was a very late dinner, and I was hungrier than usual. There’s enough left for tomorrow! Your recipes never disappoint.

5 stars
Oh my goodness…this is SO delicious! I used followed it exactly and used all the spices suggested. It is to die for!

5 stars
Fantastic recipe, will definitely be a repeat recipe during squash season! Served to guests and they were very impressed. The clear instructions were great and the finished curry was fragrant, delicious and very beautiful, especially with the black chickpeas dotted throughout. Thanks!

Having grown lots of pumpkins on the allotment, I was pleased to find this recipe for pumpkin curry. It was very good – and I’ve frozen half for another meal sometime.

Swasthi, excellent recipe. During this fall season here in America, the markets are flooded with various types of pumpkins. They are all over the place. Unfortunately, not many people use them in cooking except for making pies. I remember in Andhra instead of whole chickpeas, split chickpeas (senaga pappu) is also used. Am I correct? Thanks for the great work you are doing.

5 stars
This is a fantastic recipe. Made 3x for a family meal and everyone loved it. Both my sisters asked me to pack the leftovers. It specially went very well with ghee rice. Thank you. Love your recipes. Please keep up the great work.

5 stars
I was a bit sceptical while making this, as it seemed quite different to your usual recipes. But it turned out excellent as always, restaurant quality. I happened to have some almond flour so used that; a surprisingly easy way to thicken the curry. My slight recipe variations were butternut squash instead of pumpkin (quite similar anyway) and asam jawa for the sourness.

5 stars
Thank you Swasthi for your pumpkin recipe. I cooked per you method, it’s delicious and I feel that I bought this dish from a 5 star Indian resy. Thank you again ❤️