Cambodian Hot Pork and Pumpkin Curry

About a month ago my Mother gave me three pumpkins. I did not have a menu plan but I do know that these things can be kept for a very very long time so I did not resist in bringing all three of them home. The first recipe that came to mind is Cambodian Pumpkin Pudding in Banana Leaves (Num La’pov). I did not feel like making desserts out of them yet since I usually end up eating them all by myself which isn’t a very good idea therefore I opted for a savory dish like this Cambodian Hot Pork and Pumpkin Curry, ការីល្ពៅសាច់ជ្រូក (Kari La’pov Sach Jrook) .

The recipe was adapted from a cookbook in my collection entitled The Food & Cooking of Cambodia which I recently repurchase because I misplace my first copy. Actually this wasn’t the first time I’ve made a curry using pumpkins I usually do just a simple and quick version by using store-bought Thai red curry paste. This Cambodian version use Khmer Kroeung as the base which gives it a distinctive Cambodian taste. As always with curries you can serve it with either steamed rice, crusty bread or rice noodles.

Cambodian Hot Pork and Pumpkin Curry (makes 3-4 serving)
(Kari La’pov Sach Jrook) ការីល្ពៅសាច់ជ្រូក

½ tablespoon oil
1 slice galanga, finely sliced
5 red chillies, finely sliced (reduce amount for a milder curry)
½ small sweet onion or 2 shallots, finely sliced
2 tablespoons Khmer Kroeung
½ tablespoon palm sugar
1 lb pork, cut into bite size chunks
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
1 kabocha pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into bite size chunks
4-5 kaffir lime leaves, reserve 1-2 leaves and slivered for garnish
1 tablespoon fish sauce

Heat the oil in a heavy pan. Stir in galanga, chillies, and onions and stir-fry until fragrant. Add Khmer Kroeung and stir-fry until it begins to color. Add palm sugar.

Stir in the chunks of pork and stir-fry until golden brown on all sides. Stir in shrimp paste and pour in coconut milk.

Bring to the boil, add the pumpkin and kaffir lime leaves, and reduce the heat. Cook gently, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until the pumpkin and pork are tender but not mushy and the sauce has reduced. If you prefer a thinner curry then feel free to add water or stock.

Add fish sauce and season to taste. Garnish the curry with slivered kaffir lime leaves.

This curry can be serve with rice, noodles or crusty bread. ENJOY!

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