This comforting Pumpkin Chicken Curry is the best way to warm up on a cold Fall evening. This flavorful curry, made with pumpkin, tender chicken, Thai red curry paste, and coconut milk, is ready in less than 30 minutes for an easy, cozy dinner. Enjoy this curry with jasmine rice or coconut rice for a wholesome meal.

Pumpkin Chicken Curry ready to serve garnished with lemon and cilantro leaves
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It’s finally the pumpkin season. Every year I eagerly wait for fall to cook some healthy and cozy pumpkin dishes that complete the season with perfect food and good mood.

The best part about pumpkin chicken curry is that it contains ingredients that are perfect for keeping the body warm when the outside temperature starts dropping.

If you are a fan of pumpkin, you’ll love my Indian pumpkin curry, Thai pumpkin red curry, and pumpkin carrot soup recipes!

Thai Pumpkin Curry with Chicken

Thai pumpkin curry with chicken is a flavourful, easy recipe from Thai cuisine. This curry is gluten-free and dairy-free, and the best part is that it can be made in just 30 minutes if you have cut pumpkin on hand.

This aromatic and creamy dish combines tender pieces of chicken with the subtle sweetness of pumpkin, infused with a medley of Thai curry paste and herbs.

I add just pumpkin and bell peppers to this curry, but it is easy to customize to add any veggies you have on hand. You can also use tofu in place of chicken if you prefer. You can make this curry in the instant pot or on the stovetop.

Ingredients

Ingredients to make thai pumpkin chicken curry

Pumpkin or Kabocha Squash: Pumpkin adds sweetness and a velvety texture to the curry. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making it a nutritious addition to the dish. You can also use Kabocha squash, also known as Japanese pumpkin, in this curry.

Chicken: I like to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs to make Thai curries. They are just a bit juicer and tender when cooked in a curry. However, chicken breasts would work, but they need less cooking time. Cut into 1-inch pieces.

Coconut Milk: Use a brand with thick coconut milk. I like to use the full-fat ones, but you can choose the lower-fat ones if you want to make the curry lighter. Remember that the curry will be thinner and not as creamier. Shake the can well before opening.

Red paste: I used Maesri paste from the Asian market. You can also order it on Amazon. This one has the wonderful authentic flavors you get at Thai restaurants. 

Fish Sauce (or Soy sauce): This adds a special “umami” flavor to the curry. Fish sauce has an extra salty, pungent flavor. If you prefer, you can use Soy Sauce or Tamari (gluten-free).

Brown Sugar: This helps to balance the flavors of this spicy curry.

Lime Leaves: Lime leaves impart a citrusy aroma and flavor to the curry, adding a refreshing and bright note to the dish.

Thai basil leaves:  I love to garnish the curry with lots of Thai Basil Leaves. If you don’t have them, use regular basil leaves or cilantro.

Bell Peppers: Use red or green bell peppers. They add nutrition, color, and sweetness to the curry.

Lime: A little lime juice at the end really does wonders for the complex flavors in this curry.

Peanuts: Crushed peanuts can be added directly to the curry for garnish and crunch, or left out to keep the curry nut-free.

Variations

Vegetarian/Vegan Option: Substitute the chicken with tofu or chickpeas to create a hearty vegetarian or vegan version of the curry. 

Vary the veggies: Incorporate additional nutritious ingredients such as sweet potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, or green beans to increase the curry’s fiber and nutrient content.

How to Make?

Pumpkin Chicken Curry is easy to prepare and can be quickly cooked using the following steps:

  • Start by washing the pumpkin (or kabocha squash) on the outside to remove dirt and then drying it with a kitchen towel.
  • Peel and slice the pumpkin using a sharp knife. Take a spoon, remove all the seeds, and cut it into bite-sized cubes. Don’t throw away the seeds; you can turn them into a delicious snack by following my Air fryer pumpkin seeds recipe.
  • Heat a Dutch oven or heavy-bottom pot on medium-high heat. Boil 1/2 cup of coconut milk, add curry paste, and start stirring to break the lumps.
Red Curry Paste added to dutch oven over coconut milk.
  • Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes (the oil may start to separate).
  • Add the chicken thighs, stir, and cook for a minute.
Chicken Thighs added over to the curry.
  • Add the fish sauce, brown sugar, lime leaves, and the rest of the coconut milk.
  • Then, add the pumpkin and the rest of the coconut milk.
  • Stir and simmer for about 3-4 minutes until you see a boil.
  • Cover and cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the pumpkin is cooked through.
Pumpkin Chicken Curry getting getting cook at medium heat.
  • Remove the lid and stir in Thai basil leaves and red bell peppers. (I used regular basil leaves as that’s what I had on hand)
  • Stir and cook for a minute, then take off the heat.
Thai Pumpkin Chicken Curry ready to serve garnished with cilantro leaves spread all over.
  • Taste and add salt if needed. Sprinkle some lime or lemon juice.
  • Optionally, garnish with crushed peanuts. Serve immediately over jasmine rice.
Pumpkin Chicken Curry served over rice.

Pro-Tips

Choose the Right Pumpkin: For the best flavor and texture, opt for a sugar pumpkin or kabocha squash. These varieties are naturally sweet and have smooth, creamy flesh that works well in curries.

Balance Flavors: Taste and adjust the seasoning as you go. Thai cuisine is all about achieving a balance of sweet, spicy, salty, and sour flavors. Add a pinch of sugar to balance out the acidity or a dash of fish sauce for extra umami.

Add ginger and garlic: To amp up the flavor even more when using store-bought curry paste, you can sauté half a tablespoon of ginger and garlic in oil along with the paste.

Spice Level: Adjust the spice level according to your preference. Start with lesser red curry paste, 2-3 tablespoons, and add more based on your spice preference. You can also add some chili paste at the end to increase the spice.

Coconut Milk: Experiment with different types of coconut milk. Use full-fat coconut milk for a rich and creamy texture, or opt for light coconut milk for a lighter version with fewer calories.

Consistency: This curry gets thicker as it cools. Add ½ to 1 cup water or broth to get a thinner consistency.

How to Serve?

You can elevate the presentation and flavor of the Thai pumpkin curry by adding various garnishes. Fresh herbs like cilantro or Thai basil, chopped peanuts or cashews, thinly sliced red chili peppers, or a squeeze of lime juice can all add a burst of freshness and texture.

Thai pumpkin chicken curry can be accompanied well with steamed white rice, brown rice, basmati rice, or jasmine rice. The rice will help soak up the delicious curry sauce.

How to Store?

You can store this curry in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The curry thickens as it cools. Add a little water and reheat in the microwave.

Chicken curry also freezes well. Allow it to cool completely, and then store it in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months. Thaw and reheat on the stovetop or microwave.

More Pumpkin Recipes You’ll Love

5 from 1 vote

Thai Pumpkin Chicken Curry

This comforting Pumpkin Chicken Curry is the best way to warm up on a cold Fall evening. It is made with pumpkin, tender chicken, Thai red curry paste, and coconut milk and is ready in less than 30 minutes for an easy, cozy dinner!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups Pumpkin or Kabocha squash, bite-sized pieces, 1 lb
  • 1 can Coconut Milk, 14oz
  • 3 tablespoon Red Curry Paste, adjust to taste
  • 1 pound Chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce, or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Brown sugar, or palm sugar
  • 5-6 Kaffir lime leaves , crushed
  • 8-10 Thai basil leaves
  • 1 cup Red Bell Pepper, sliced, or a mix of red and green.
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 Lime or Lemon, juiced
  • Roasted Peanuts, optional, for garnish

Instructions 

  • Rinse the kabocha squash/pumpkin with water. Dry it and remove the skin (you can leave the skin on if you prefer). Cut and remove the seeds by scraping them off with a spoon. Then, cut the pumpkin into bite-sized cubes (about 1-inch).
  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, bring 1/2 cup of coconut milk to a boil on medium-high heat. Then add the curry paste and stir it well. Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes (the oil may start to separate).
  • Add the chicken thighs, stir, and cook for a minute. Add the fish sauce, brown sugar, lime leaves, and the rest of the coconut milk.
  • Then, add the pumpkin and the rest of the coconut milk. Stir and simmer for about 3-4 minutes until you see a boil. Cover and cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the pumpkin is cooked through.
  • Remove the lid and stir in Thai basil and red bell peppers. Stir and cook for a minute, then take off the heat.
  • Taste and add salt if needed. Sprinkle some lime or lemon juice. Optionally, garnish with crushed peanuts. Serve immediately over jasmine rice.

Notes

Spicy? Start with lesser red curry paste, 2-3 tablespoons and add more based on your spice preference.
Veggies: I kept the recipe simple and just added bell peppers. However, you can add broccoli, baby corn, mushrooms, green beans, zucchini, or carrots, too. Add quick-cooking veggies after pressure cooking and veggies such as carrots, potatoes, and baby corn along with the chicken before pressure cooking.
Variation: To amp up the flavor even more when using store-bought curry paste, you can sauté half a tablespoon of ginger and garlic in oil along with the paste.
Rice: While you are cooking the curry, don’t forget to cook the jasmine rice. You can also serve this curry with coconut rice or brown rice.

Nutrition

Calories: 327kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 15gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 304mgPotassium: 497mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 5341IUVitamin C: 38mgCalcium: 44mgIron: 3mg

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai
Diet: Gluten-free, Low Carb
Tried this recipe?Mention @pipingpotcurry or tag #pipingpotcurry!

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

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