Roasted Coconut Pumpkin Curry and Yellow Rice

I’m slowly catching up with the blog and am now only two weeks behind! Progress! Thankfully this week is Thanksgiving and I’m only cooking twice for the blog so I should be all caught up by this weekend. Or maybe next weekend. Or maybe never.

This meal was prepared for the first night of Sri Lankan week. Sri Lankan food probably isn’t on a lot of people’s radar and up until four years ago, it wasn’t on ours. What changed four years ago? The oldest started attending a Montessori school run by four Sri Lankan women. It’s not like all of a sudden we were immersed in their culture or anything but we became more aware. Such is the beauty of meeting people from different backgrounds…take note new administration!

Every Thanksgiving they prepare food for the parents to take home and I always look forward to that meal. The first year it took me by complete surprise and I was beyond giddy to try what they had prepared. At the time I was working in south Austin and usually had an hour plus commute home so James would always pick the kid up from school. He called to tell me that when he picked her up, they had a buffet out and had told him to take as much as he wanted. I remember him saying he only took a couple of pieces of chicken and I exclaimed “WHY?! That chicken sounds amazing!” I was very upset and I hadn’t yet seen the food.

Side note: I was already pregnant with the baby so, you know, I was emotional and hungry.

Side-side note: I’m no longer pregnant but I’m still emotional and hungry.

I still remember that meal. It was a chicken curry, yellow rice, samosas, a veggie salad, and some sweet cakes. I loved that rice! I LOVE that rice. I look forward to it every year and always mean to ask for the recipe but never do.

Well, I found it! And I made it! And it was not as good as the teacher’s!

My yellow rice was good but it was missing something. I didn’t add the cashews or raisins because I forgot them but I don’t think that’s what affected the flavor. The cashews and raisins mostly add texture and I typically remove the raisins anyway. The recipe called for pandan leaves and I couldn’t find any so I think that’s what was missing. I know where to get pandan leaves, I cooked with them during Thai week, but I was being lazy and didn’t want to make an extra trip to the Asian market. Unfortunately my rice paid the price for my laziness. So it goes.

The curry, however, was spectacular and made up for the not so great rice. I don’t have a lot of experience cooking with pumpkin aside from making pumpkin pie and pumpkin empanadas so this was new territory for me. I mean, both of those items call for canned pumpkin but I’m not even sure if that can REALLY be considered pumpkin. I’ve cooked with many kinds of squash so I don’t know why I was nervous about cooking with pumpkin; I guess it was just fear of the unknown. You would think that by now I would be a lot more confident in the kitchen, and I am compared to how I was in January, but I still doubt my abilities. I need to get over it…Anyway, I was a little disappointed that the coconut flavor wasn’t stronger but that’s the only complaint I have about the dish.

The girls didn’t eat the curry but they did eat a lot of rice. The love they have for rice never ceases to amaze me and it also tugs at my heartstrings. I, too, adore rice so seeing how much they enjoy it is like watching genetics in work. You could argue that looking at their faces is like watching genetics work but they look more like their father than me. Although, sometimes, in the right light and with the correct scowl, it’s like looking in a mirror.

Recipe, Recipe

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