Today recipe is a Malay style pumpkin and prawn curry called masak lemak labu & udang, loosely translated as rich pumpkin with prawns. It is a creamy curry not too spicy hot.
about 500g peeled and de-seeded pumpkin or butternut squash
200 - 250g raw king prawns/shrimps (I used frozen peeled raw prawns)
1 small sprig of curry leaves about 10 - 12 leaves, best use fresh or frozen
1 - 1.5 cup of coconut milk (I used tin, more coconut milk richer and creamier the gravy)
1 tbsp wet tamarind
sugar to taste
salt to taste
some cooking oil
1 - 2 clove of garlic, peeled
3 walnut size shallots, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 - 3 large medium heat red chillies, de-seeded (as many and spicy as you like)
1 pinky finger size fresh or frozen turmeric root/ or 1 tsp of ground turmeric
1 thumbsize chunk of galangal, cut into small pieces
3 candle nuts (buah keras)
2 tsp belacan or shrimp paste
- Soak wet tamarind with 1/2 cup of boiling water till softened then leave it to cool for a while then knead the pulp to release the juice. Pass this through a sieve to remove pulp and any seeds.
- Blend all the paste ingredients till smooth using a mini blender. Can add a touch of water to ease blending. Or if you like you can pound the spices with a pestle and mortar.
- Cut pumpkin into bitesize chunks.
- Bruise the lemongrass by bashing with a cleaver or rolling pin.
- If using frozen peeled prawns, defrost before cooking. De-vein if required by lightly score the back of the prawn and rinse off dark vein.
- Heat wok or pan with about 3 - 5 tbsp of cooking oil till hot, add curry leaves and lemon grass fry till oil is fragrant. Add spice paste keep stirring for about 5 minutes till fragrant.
- Add coconut milk and pumpkin pieces, then add half the tamarind juice and enough water to almost cover the pumpkin pieces, turn up the heat and heat till liquid is boiling.
- Cover with a lid and simmer at lower heat till pumpkin is cooked through and softened, add more water during simmering if required the pumpkin will absorb the liquid quickly, keep the gravy runny. Add enough salt and sugar. Have a taste to check saltiness, sweetness and sharpness. If required add some or all the remaining tamarind juice. Everyone has their own personal taste.
- Add prawns and cook for 2 - 3 minutes till they turn pink.