pumpkin tofu curry recipe

I'm not sure if anyone noticed, but I've been feeling really detached from this site over the past fortnight. All with good reason. First there was a health scare or two, including a lovely spider bite just under my right eye, there was a sick child thrown into the mix somewhere there and lastly Kye's 4th birthday and mothers day that we celebrated yesterday. Oh and did I mention this has all been done flying solo? Si's been away at work. Thank god he's back tomorrow. I think I could sleep for a week!

The last few posts have been written late in the evening when I really should've been tucked up in bed, so I do apologise if they have seemed a little 'distant'. 

But now, my eye is nearly better after a mum at school recommend I start taking colloidal silver. That stuff really does cure everything, I'm convinced. Within 2 days of taking it both internally and dabbing it direct onto the bite, my eye stopped stinging and the redness has all but disappeared. I also took a homeopathic remedy for bites from day one, and instinctively put virgin coconut oil on it every night, for it's amazing antibacterial properties. The doctor gave me a course of antibiotics which I have been hesitantly taking, but after looking up white tail spider bite photos on the net, well, lets just say I wasn't going to let my eye swell up any more than it already had and definitely wanted to stop any chance of developing a secondary infection! That's when things get really nasty.

When I was growing up in New Zealand we never had to worry about any things that bite. No snakes, no crocodiles, no scary spiders. It was bliss.

I remember the first time I moved over to Australia, I was 18 years old. Like most kiwi's (aka New Zealanders to my foreign readers) I was scared to death about the thought of dying from a redback spider bite! I would lift the toilet seat and check for them every time I went toilet. I walked very slowly and carefully if I was ever in long grass, convinced that a snake was going to strike me at any moment. And I remember how I nearly died on the spot one day when I was walking out to the back of our flat to hang up the washing and spotted a snake. I froze to the spot, unable to move. My heart leapt into my throat, I couldn't scream even if I wanted too. After a few minutes of starring at it from a distance, I had finally calmed down enough to think straight and thought that if it was a real one, surely I would have seen it move by now? Even just a tiny bit? I grabbed a stick or was it a shoe... I don't remember. Chucked it at the thing and there was no movement. I thanked my Aussie flatmates later on when they got home. The joke was most definitely on this scared little kiwi girl. Ha ha.

I'm sure I'm not the only New Zealander to be terrified of all the nasties over here in Australia? Until this time moving to Perth, I was still convinced you die instantly if bit by a redback spider and was shocked and quietly relieved to hear that it's very uncommon for people to die from their bites. Phew. I've now come to learn that most people over here are not even concerned with them at all, as they kinda just keep to themselves. Sadly in New Zealand you can now find white-tail spiders too, everywhere. And it's them that most Aussies are more scared of. They roam around with no home to return too, love hanging out in beds and piles of clothes (there's always many in my room!), and generally have a much more long-lasting bite than a redback. It was most probably one of those little buggars that bit me, while I was fast asleep. I don't know what was scarier, the bite or the fact that a spider was crawling on my face!?

My baby boy is 4!

Anyways, enough about my eye and creepy crawlies! When I'm feeling a little worse for wear and want something comforting, I cook curries. For some people they find comfort in bowlfuls of soup, for others it's a dish from their childhood. For me nothing beats a bowlful of spiced vegetables and brown rice. Nothing.

Any combination of vegetables can be added into this quick curry-style base. I happened to have a wedge of pumpkin at hand and a block of tofu, so that's what went in. A handful of broccoli florets would work wonders, as would cauliflower, potatoes, peas or kumara (sweet potato). I like to add fresh curry leaves, but of course if you can't track them down, no worries. And for a little added textural excitement a sprinkling of lightly toasted cashews fits the bill.

P.s One last little note. Thank you all so much for your support and votes in the Saveur 2012 Best Food Blog awards! I was stoked to even be chosen as a finalist, especially when I think that this blog was picked from over 40, 000 entries! Sadly I did not win, but a huge congratulations to Nom Nom Paleo! Well done xx

pumpkin tofu curry
I like the subtle coconut flavours you get when using coconut oil in curries, but ghee or rice bran oil is also perfect to use too, if preferred. Find fresh curry leaves at some supermarkets, and shops that stock Asian and Indian groceries. If you can't find them no biggy, just leave out. Store any leftover curry leaves in a zip-lock bag in the freezer and use straight from frozen. The ingredients list looks scarily long, I know. If you have all the spices set out and everything else prepped it's easy, I promise. You can have this on the table in the time it takes to cook the rice.
serves 4 with rice

  • 3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, ghee or rice bran oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 stems curry leaves, leaves picked and stems discarded
  • 500g pumpkin (butternut, crown, Japanese or Queensland blue), peeled, seeded, cut into 1cm cubes (approx 2-3 cups once diced)
  • 320g packet of extra firm tofu, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-2 long red Thai chillies, seeded and finely chopped
  • sea salt, to taste
  • juice 1/2 lemon, plus wedges to serve
  • 1/2 cup lightly toasted unsalted cashew nuts, roughly chopped, to serve
  • cooked brown rice, to serve

Heat coconut oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat. Add black mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Cook, stirring until the mustard seeds start to pop. Add diced pumpkin and tofu and cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes or until everything is coated in the fragrant oil. Add ground spices, garlic and chilli, stir well. Add 1/4 cup (60ml) water and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender but not too mushy. Season to taste with sea salt, add lemon juice and stir well. Serve hot with brown rice, sprinkled with toasted cashew nuts and a wedge of lemon to squeeze over top if desired.

Linked to: Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-free

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  • Reply
    May 14, 2012 at 8:48 am

    I'm not a big fan of curry (or tofu, for that matter) but I'll definitely give this one a go sometime this week because I loooove cooking with coconut oil! What type do you use or recommend? I recently got some from http://products.mercola.com/coconut-oil/ to try out and so far it's magnificently delicious.

    • Reply
      May 14, 2012 at 11:05 am

      Ooh do let me know how you go with this then! My favourite two brands of coconut oil to use here in Australia are Eco organic virgin coconut oil (www.ecofood.net.au) and melrose organic virgin coconut oil (melrosehealth.com.au)

  • Reply
    May 14, 2012 at 9:03 am

    The curry looks so yummy!Im on a curry buzz right now so I'll have to try it.

    And Im so glad your eye is coming right. I would use the same, colloidal and coconut oil. I have a cold starting and straight away upped my coconut oil and threw some colloidal silver in my water.

    As a fellow kiwi in Oz I too have lots of spider/snake fears but both my parents have had white tail bites in NZ with horrible side effects.

    • Reply
      May 14, 2012 at 11:08 am

      Funny you should mention that, when I was talking to my Dad the other day he said that both him and his partner had both been bitten by white tails in the last month. Thankfully they didn't react too bad, cause I've seen and read about some horror stories!

  • Reply
    Shirleen @ Sugar and Spice
    May 14, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Quick and easy veg curries are my fav lazy night dinner dish. Bung whatever veg I have in…& voila! I love frying up an egg or two & drizzle with salty dark soy sauce, few drops of sesame oil & dash oh white pepper. For some reason, it goes sooo well with veg curry & rice! 🙂 x

    • Reply
      May 14, 2012 at 11:09 am

      Sounds wonderful Shirleen! We eat lots of eggs for dinner, and always for dinner, never breakfast like most people 🙂

  • Reply
    May 14, 2012 at 9:31 am

    First time I've stopped by your blog but it won't be the last. Love pumpkin, love vegie curries, hate snakes.

    • Reply
      May 14, 2012 at 11:09 am

      Welcome xx

  • Reply
    May 14, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Blerg, what a rough time! I am so with you on being terrified of all of Australia's crawly beasts, I know it's a great place, but all those spiders and snakes would make me way too anxious! But then all those mangoes… 😉

    Great curry recipe, I have a bunch of stuff I turn to when I need comfort food, and curry is definitely one of them.

    • Reply
      May 14, 2012 at 11:12 am

      Thankfully living in the city means there's only about a 5-10% of ever seeing a snake. Si's lived here his whole childhood and never seen one. I couldn't live somewhere in rural Australia with kids, we'd never leave the house! Byron Bay is where I'd love to live over here, but there's WAY too many snakes and huge spiders for my liking!

  • Reply
    May 14, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Sorry to hear you've been a bit under the weather. Glad that the spider bite is going better. I totally agree that curries are the best comfort food ever. Happy birthday to your boy!

    • Reply
      May 14, 2012 at 11:13 am

      Thank you Blandine! He's says "I'm as big as a super-hero now" 🙂

  • Reply
    Rebecca Stahl
    May 15, 2012 at 3:59 am

    When I was deciding where to apply to study, I was choosing between NZ and Oz. While there were a lot of reasons I chose NZ over Oz, the huge creepy crawlies all over Oz was a major factor. When I learned that in NZ you can tramp for days and the only thing you have to worry about are keas stealing your shoes, I was hooked. Oh, I miss it so much. Thanks for your great reminders and your continued great recipes – always an inspiration!

    • Reply
      May 15, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      Thanks Rebecca. Yeah the creepy crawlies do put people off, but I wouldn't be living here if I didn't love this country too 🙂

  • Reply
    the good soup
    May 15, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Aw dear Emm, I don't know if I'd ever recover from the event of one of those white tails crawling on my face and gnawing on my eyelid! EEEEEEEEK. I'm Australian and I've never even HEARD of a white tail. I'm also completely squeamish and almost phobic about spiders. I love them in the garden. Honest. Except the 'huntsmen' that hide under the banana leafs and try (I swear, they TRY) to fall into my hair when I brush past- that's just MEAN!

    Oh dear, what a rant… lovely looking curry and sweetest little 4 year old ever! xx

    • Reply
      May 15, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      Haha, I have a tendency to rant too, so all good 🙂
      I'm totally freaked by all spiders but thank god I've not seen any huntsmen over here, yet. They used to give me the shits when we lived in Byron Bay. Ekk.

  • Reply
    May 15, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Oh my days! I think you've just successfully put me off ever wanting to go to Australia, ever. 😉

    • Reply
      May 15, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      Oh no! Don't let me put you off. This country is awesome.

  • Reply
    May 15, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Interesting about the silver, With all the travel I am doing I am getting run down so I am going to buy some tomorrow. Well Done on Award nomination, I really don't get the category the the winner was in! But that's blogging for ya.

    • Reply
      May 15, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      Ah yes, the Paleo diet (aka caveman diet) seems to be the new thing over in the states…
      Do try the colloidal silver, such amazing stuff. I've just started taking spirulina tablets again too and always feel much more alive xx

  • Reply
    leaf (the indolent cook)
    May 15, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Sorry to hear about the health troubles! Nice to have a curry this comforting to ease them away, though. 🙂

  • Reply
    May 16, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    your recipes have been right on the marklately!!I've made 3 versions of the carob bites already,kale pesto and have 1 butternut squash left to use for yummy curry.Your bad days translate well into recipes!!!The kitchen is always such a comfort isn't it??sleep well sunshine.

  • Reply
    The InTolerant Chef
    May 16, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    My mum uses colloidal silver for everything too.
    I'm not fond of creepy crawlies either, we have plenty of red backs outside, but I've found our initially huge white tail population has dropped dramatically around the house in the last year
    You poor thing, of course all this would happen while you're on your own- it's always the way! I'm glad you feel well enough to curl up with a curry.
    Hope you feel better soon sweetie!

  • Reply
    Treble Tart
    May 17, 2012 at 11:30 am

    I've got some pumpkin I've been itching to use — this looks like the perfect way to do so!! I hope your spider bite gets better! What an awful spot to have one.

  • Reply
    June 9, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Eeeeeek! That's why I very much prefer New Zealand, because I was told that Australia was hell for people who had arachnophobia. Although… you have the weta, that's kind of freakish too!
    Yet another great recipe with pumpkin. I think the combination with tofu is simply divine.

  • Reply
    That Shelly Girl
    August 2, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    I'm just now discovering your blog and after reading the first part of this post, I am officially NEVER visiting that entire area of the world…. I have several friends in Oz but after that…forget it! Spiders in the house!? Ever!? Yikes! We have a bug man that comes every 4 mo and sprays. No spiders here.

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