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, roti, Paratha, Butter Naan or other kinds of flatbreads or even with Dosas & bread. It is Vegan & Gluten-free!
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 white chickpeas just like the way I did.
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.
How to Make Pumpkin Curry (Stepwise Photos)
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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.
More Pumpkin Recipes
Kaddu ki Sabzi
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.
- To save time, chop the onions and begin with the recipe. Prepare the rest as you cook.
- You may skip the whole spices if you don’t have but they impart unique deep flavors to the dish.
- 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.
- 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.
- You can use black chickpeas or even rajma if you like the flavor.
- 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.
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Vitamin A 7685IU154%
Vitamin C 115mg139%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.