Pumpkin and Chicken Curry

Pumpkin Chicken Curry

This isn’t your classic “pumpkin spice”!

As the air begins to cool and the leaves begin to change, the pumpkins start popping up at our stoops, schools, and offices. Cafés and restaurants will stop at nothing to pump “pumpkin spice” down our throats. Pumpkin can certainly be done to death, so this fall I was inspired to use it in a dish not often paired with this lovely fall vegetable: curry. This isn’t your classic “pumpkin spice”!

This spicy curry has a pumpkin puree base deeply seasoned with cinnamon, cloves, ginger, garam masala, cardamom, fenugreek, and garlic. You can add chilies for spice, but you can always leave them out if the heat is too strong; the ginger alone adds some kick. Maple syrup is added at the end for a touch of sweetness.

deeply seasoned with cinnamon, cloves, ginger, garam masala, cardamom, fenugreek, and garlic…

The chicken is marinated in spices and buttermilk overnight so that the meat stays tender as it cooks in the oven. It is added to the curry toward the end of the cooking process.

Since the curry is highly seasoned, it is balanced out with a serving of basmati rice cooked with bay leaves and star anise pods. These sweet and peppery flavors are light yet noticeable to compliment the curry.

I served it all with garlic naan toasted with butter and chopped chives.

This curry is an excellent alternative to stew or soup on a chilly evening; it’s hearty enough for the incoming cold, but not so heavy that it stays with you for days. Plus, it’s different for when you want a break from the usual pumpkin flavors!

Pumpkin & Chicken Curry

Course Main Course
Prep Time 20 minutes
Marinating Time 8 hours
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Author Christie C.


For the Chicken Marinade

  • 2 LBS Chicken Breast cut into 1 inch cubes.
  • 1 ½ Cups (150g) Buttermilk
  • 1 TSP (5g) Sea Salt
  • 1 TSP (5g) Garam Masala
  • 1 TSP (5g) Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1 inch Ginger minced

For the Curry

  • 1 LBS (450g) Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 Cup (225ml) Water
  • 4 TBSP (50g) Unsalted Butter plus 2 TBSP extra for sautéing
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 2 inches Ginger minced
  • 4 Green Cardamom Pods
  • 4 Garlic Cloves chopped
  • 1 TSP (5g) Garam Masala
  • 1 TSP (5g) Ground Fenugreek
  • 2 TBSP (30g) Maple Syrup or Honey
  • 2 TBSP (30g) Heavy Cream
  • 1 TBSP (15g) Sea Salt, or adjusted to taste.
  • Optional: Red Chilies chopped, Red Chili Flakes, or Red Chili Powder for spice

For the Rice

  • 2 Cups (400g) Basmati or Jasmine Rice
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Star Anise Pods


Marinade the Chicken

  1. The day before you plan to make the dish, rinse off and cube the chicken breasts. Mix together and buttermilk, salt, oil, and seasonings, and fully submerge the chicken breasts into the marinade. Let the chicken marinade overnight.

Make the Pumpkin and Chicken Curry

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C)
  2. Pour the chicken including its marinade onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. While the chicken cooks, heat 2 TBSP (30g) of butter in a medium Dutch oven, sauce pan, or skillet on medium heat. Once the butter begins to bubble, add the cinnamon stick, ginger, garlic, cardamom, and bay leaves and sauté the aromatics until fragrant.

  4. Pour the pumpkin puree, water, and butter into the aromatics, mixing thoroughly. Bring the mixture to a simmer and add the remaining seasonings. Add as much or as little of the chilies as you want, depending on how spicy you like your dish. Let the curry simmer for 10 minutes until it begins to thicken in consistency. Stir in the salt, heavy cream, and maple syrup. Set the curry on low heat to keep it warm until the chicken is finished baking.
  5. When the chicken is ready, drain out the liquid from the pan and place the chicken into the curry. Let it cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. When finished, turn off the heat and cover the curry to keep it warm.

Make the Rice

  1. Cook 2 Cups (200g) of Basmati or Jasmine Rice according the directions on the package, being sure to add the bay leaves and star anise pods as it cooks. You may do this as the chicken bakes, depending on the type of rice you decide to use.

Finish the Dish

  1. Serve the curry over the rice. Eat it with a serving of garlic naan, if you wish!

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