The Global Table: Thai Pumpkin Curry (Halloween Edition)
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The Global Table: Thai Pumpkin Curry (Halloween Edition)

It should come as no surprise that a big part of traveling is food. Food is powerful. It’s the great connector—shaping our memories and cultivating community. Friends and strangers alike share their cultural traditions, their favorite foods, and their most treasured recipes.

Surely, you’ll have some unforgettable meals on one of Rustic Pathways’ high school summer travel programs, but if you can’t wait for your trip to begin, here’s a recipe you can prepare at home.

Rustic Pathways students prepare meals for community members in Thailand.

It’s spooky season!

Growing up, my family celebrated Halloween with a neighborhood potluck. People would bring fall favorites and Halloween snacks for a quick bite before hitting the road for trick or treating and a costume contest. (Fun Fact: In St. Louis, trick or treating requires every kid to tell a joke before picking some candy to take home. Do a trick, get a treat.)

I bet most Halloween parties you’ve been to have the typical fare—pigs in a blanket that look like mummies, cupcakes decorated as jack-o-lanterns, dry ice in cauldrons, or hot apple cider.

This year, try something different for Halloween and prepare this deliciously spicy Thai pumpkin curry. Savory, spicy, with a touch of sweetness, this curry is hearty and perfect for a brisk autumn evening.

Rustic Pathways students learn to cook in Thailand.

Thai Pumpkin Curry

Prep time: 1 hour
Servings: 4

Ingredients
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, medium dice
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
2 medium red bell peppers, seeds + ribs removed and cut into 1/4-inch strips
4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger (from about a 1-1/2-inch piece)
3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1 (13- to 14-ounce) can unsweetened regular coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
1 medium kabocha squash (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice

To serve
Steamed white rice or steamed brown rice

  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened, about 6 minutes. Add the peppers, garlic, and ginger, stir to combine and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the curry paste, stir to coat the onion-pepper mixture, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, water, soy sauce, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer.
  • Stir in the squash, return to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is fork-tender but still firm, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Taste and season with salt as needed.
  • Serve immediately over steamed rice.

Follow along with The Global Table for more food tips, stories, and recipes.

About the Author

Naomi Tao

Creative Lead and Graphic Designer

Born in London and raised in St. Louis, Naomi learned the importance of global citizenship and community building at an early age. Her passion for these things and her love of travel led her to Rustic —first as a student and again in 2013 after graduating from the University of Southern California with degrees in fine art and marketing. When Naomi is not managing the Rustic Pathways brand or packing her bags for yet another adventure, you can find her learning about sustainable agriculture, cultivating fruits and vegetables in her garden, or catering intimate dinner parties for family and new friends.