Recipe from Emily Dobbs, Chef and Author of Weligama: Recipes from Sri Lanka
Emily Dobbs has worked as a chef at The Dock Kitchen, Ducksoup, Petersham Nurseries and Spring. She taught herself how to make Sri Lankan food at home and became the first British chef to popularise Sri Lankan food in London, through her pop-up stall 'Weligama' in Druid Street Market (hailed by the Evening Standard as ‘utterly fantastic’). She published her first book of recipes in 2017 and is currently working on the follow up. The below recipe was created especially for Thought, with seasonal ingredients and a zero-waste philosophy in mind.
The Recipe: Zero Waste Pumpkin and Chestnut Curry with Black Cabbage Pickle
800g onion squash or pumpkin
2 tbsp maple syrup or brown sugar
1 tsp chilli powder
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tb roast curry powder
Handful of fresh curry leaves
1 white onion, thinly sliced
20g garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
20g fresh ginger, peeled and grated with a box grater
1 tsp turmeric
200ml coconut milk
180g cooked chestnuts
For the pickle:
1 x bunch cavalo nero
500ml caster sugar
1 tsp salt
For the pickle:
Simmer the vinegar, salt and sugar until completely dissolved and leave to cool. Slice the cabbage into thin strips. You want the pickle to be crunchy so important the liquid is totally cool before adding the cabbage. Leave for an hour then the pickle is ready to use. Will become more sour over time and can be kept for a few months in the fridge.
For the curry:
Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6.
Wash then cut the squash or pumpkin into large chunks , do not remove the skin and scoop out the seeds. Then add to a large bowl and mix the oil, maple syrup, chilli powder and 1 tsp sea salt. Spread out onto a baking tray lined with brown paper. Roast for 30 minutes until soft. The seeds can be dried out in a low oven and used to garnish the curry later.
Heat the coconut oil in a saucepan and, when hot, add fresh curry leaves if you have any followed by the black mustard and cumin seeds. When they crackle and pop add the sliced onion, garlic, green chilli and grated fresh ginger with 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt and cook for 5 minutes until onions soften.
Add the rest of the spices. Stir fry for a couple minutes then add the coconut milk and 100ml water, bring to the boil and simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes.
Add the roast squash and cooked chestnuts to the sauce and leave to cool, allowing the flavours to develop for 5 minutes then taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with fried curry leaves fried in a little coconut oil, or with the roasted pumpkin seeds.