Tag Archives: pumpkin

Recipe: Massaman Curry (Beef, Pumpkin & Cashew)


This recipe was born out of a cold winter’s day and the desire to recreate some comfort food which was Whole30, Paleo and low carb. I have varied from tradition by substituting peanuts for cashews in this recipe, and pumpkin for the potatoes. Not only is pumpkin lower in carbohydrates than the traditional potatoes used in this dish, but it also helps to overcome the omission of sugar by partly dissolving into the curry and adding a natural rich sweetness to the finished dish. I’ve also chosen to use lime juice instead of the traditional tamarind paste or concentrate as it is slightly sweeter and provides less of a sour note to counterbalance.


(Serves 8)

  • 2 tablespoons (40mls) coconut oil
  • 1kg shin, gravy beef or chuck steak, trimmed and cut into medium sized chunks
  •  2 cups coconut cream
  •  3 tablespoons (60mls) massaman curry paste (see related recipe)
  •  1 cup coconut milk
  •  1 ½ cups good quality chicken stock
  •  1 cinnamon stick
  •  3 Star Anise
  •  3 bay leaves
  •  ½ tsp ground cardamom or 6 cardamom pods lightly crushed (see note)
  •   1 tablespoon (20 mls) lime juice
  •  1 tablespoon (20 mls) fish sauce
  •  1/2 cup roasted cashews
  •  600 gms peeled and pumpkin cut into medium sized pieces*


In two batches, heat half of oil a large saucepan or casserole pot over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook until browned all over. Remove beef and liquids to a bowl, and repeat with remaining oil and beef.

Add 3 tablespoons from the top of the coconut cream (do not shake) and cook until hot and bubbling, approximately 30 seconds. Add curry paste and cook stirring for 1 minute or until aromatic. If the paste will not loosen add a little more coconut milk, but account for the cooling down of the paste by cooking slightly longer.

Return beef and juices to pan. Add remaining coconut cream, coconut milk, stock, cinnamon stick, star anise, bay leaves, cardamom, lime juice, and fish sauce. Stir to combine.

Bring to near boil (do not boil). Reduce heat to lowest setting and cook for 1 ½ hours. Add cashews and pumpkin. Stir to combine. Cook until the beef is tender and the pumpkin is very soft and starting to fall apart approximately 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir a few times to break up some of the pumpkin so that it dissolves into the sauce. This will sweeten and thicken the sauce.



*600 grams of peeled pumpkin is approximately 1kg of whole pumpkin.

In Australia I find the Ayam brand of coconut milk and cream is the only one I have found which does not have nasty additives as it is made from 100% coconut kernel.

I used the Mae Ploy brand of curry paste as it does not have sugar or soybean oil.

This freezes exceptionally well and tastes better the next day reheated.

Nutritional information is available here.



Whole30 Day Nineteen: A Discovery in the Freezer

As an inner city apartment dweller I am incredibly space challenged. My kitchen in particular has very poor storage amenities. As a foodie who loves to cook, insufficient kitchen size and storage is the downfall of apartment living. I am also a renter so I am unable to alter poor design plans. Consequently I have cooking gadgets hidden behind the dining table and my hallway is lined with surplus kitchenware. I agree, this is not very glamorous!

On the front line of this war for extra space is my fridge/freezer. The kitchen carpentry has pre-defined my fridge/freezer space and size, and thus there is a daily battle for space for every item I bring home requiring cold storage. The situation has become precarious as this Whole30 experiment has meant I’m adding a lot more to my freezer than I’m taking out. However, during a routine reorganization today I found some lovely lamb chops languishing in the bottom of the freezer. Not only would I spoil myself with lamb chops tonight, but I’d also make much needed room in my freezer. Win win!

Brunch: Spinach, Onion and Garlic Omelette with Olives and Tomato

I think it was the memories of the lovely garlicky roast lamb last night because I was craving garlic. Garlic and chilies are like a drug for me, the more I have the more I want. I softened some garlic and onion in a fry pan, before wilting some spinach and scrambling some eggs into it. I served it with a couple of olives and a tomato.


Dinner: Lamb Chops, Garlic Aioli, Asparagus and Chermoula Pumpkin

Oh chermoula how I love thee! If I had to choose between harissa and chermoula in a Solomonian test it would break my heart but I’d probably have to give up both. I’m not as fanatical as I was during the great chermoula Love Affair of 2013, but I still believe chermoula makes almost everything better.

I was tempted to make a harissa mayonnaise to go with this dish, just so there was no competition for my two favourite condiment’s affections. In the end I sensibly opted to go with a simple roasted garlic lemony aioli to compliment the lamb and let the chermoula coated pumpkin shine. The aioli was also perfect to dip my asparagus spears into. Yes it’s true, no one was here so I ate most of this meal with my fingers, and we all know food eaten with bare hands always tastes so much better!


Whole30 7 Day Meal Plan – Day Three: The sweet beef of success

I have certainly been feeling reclusive today, hence it was perfect that I spent the day in the sole company of a brisket of beef simmering away in my slow cooker.

Breakfast: Leftover chicken and potatoes with drizzle of pesto

I made the pesto fresh this morning which was very easy and quite good. I do prefer mine a little more herby and I think it could do with a little zest. The spinach was a great idea as it added a nice peppery touch to it, as well as providing an economical way to make expensive herbs go further. I will definitely consider adding spinach to my pesto in the future.

I had to change the recipe as the original called for walnuts which I have a reaction to, so I substituted these for cashews which I thought worked really well.

I did not reheat anything as I didn’t want the chicken to dry out any further, and I adore refrigerator cold potatoes (I’d eaten half before they made to the plate).


The score below is for the pesto only:

Pros: Liked the pepperiness of the spinach

Cons: Needed a little more zing


Would I cook it again: I’d play with it.

Lunch: Mexican tuna in romaine (cos) leaves, leftover slaw and side of fruit.

I had almost no appetite at lunch time. Eventually around 3pm I reached for ranch dressing (again) and mixed a tin of tuna into the left over slaw. However it was only a small snack, as I only managed one leaf of tuna slaw. It was delicious though, and is a great thing to make for a lazy snack at home or to take to work. I will make the Mexican tuna in the future and report back to you Dear Reader.


Pros: Easy and tasty. Lots of possibilities.



Would I cook it again: Definitely.

Dinner: Braised beef, butternut squash, mixed salad and greek salad dressing

After smelling the most delicious aroma wafting through the house it was finally time to eat. It was extremely good, comfort food of the highest order. I wish I’d made a larger brisket as the leftovers would freeze very well in the gravy (tip: slice left over meat and place in a ziplock bag with gravy so you can take out and reheat quickly. I’m a big fan of brisket, and was elated when it finally made an appearance on the shelves of one of the local supermarkets.

The gravy itself was fantastic, although it never thickened enough to coat a spoon. The gravy was made by blitzing the the juices, onions and garlic from the pot the beef had been cooking in. If you haven’t tried this before, it is a genius way to thicken gravy. I suspect there was just too much liquid in this case.

I slow cooked the beef for 9 hours, adding the jap pumpkin (yes I swapped to pumpkin as it has far less carbohydrates than butternut squash) in the last 2 hours. Then I threw together a salad using cos lettuce, carrots, mushrooms, celery, cucumber, tomato. I then mixed this with the Ranch Dressing (I swear despite being told to double the recipe I am not even half way through the original jar!). The Greek dressing will have to wait for another day.


Pros: Falling apart meat that can be easily frozen and reheated. The smell in the house as it cooks.

Cons: Waiting for it to cook.


Would I cook it again: Definitely.