Pumpkin and shrimp are two things mom struggled to get us to eat as kids, but as an adult I can’t get enough. Looking back I wish I had started eating pumpkin from a younger age as the pumpkins mom would use came directly from the small garden we had at the back of our home in rural Trinidad. Grown organically and under the brilliant Caribbean sun… I still recall mom commenting “gosh this pumpkin cook real gud” every time she made a pumpkin dish.
3 lbs pumpkin (butternut squash will work also)
1/2 lb shrimp (med, cleaned and deveined)
1 tablespoon Caribbean Green Seasoning
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoon water
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper (no seeds)
Important: If doing this recipe gluten free please go through the entire list of ingredients to ensure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs. Especially the curry powder you use, which can have flour as a filler at times.
Peel, devein and wash the shrimp. Then season with the Caribbean Green Seasoning, salt and black pepper. Allow the seasoned shrimp to marinate for 10 minutes as you peel and cube the pumpkin.
In a deep saucepan, heat the oil on a low flame and add the diced (or crushed) garlic, then go in with the curry powder (I used a Madras blend out of the Caribbean) and stir well. Cook on VERY low for 3-5 minutes. It will go darker and grainy.. this step will cook off the ‘raw’ curry taste and bloom the spices which makes up a good curry blend. Add the scotch bonnet pepper and stir well at this point as well.
Toss in the seasoned shrimp, turn up the heat to med/high and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Coat with the curry base. then remove the shrimp and set aside. We’ll finishing cooking them later. In the same bowl you seasoned the shrimp add a couple table spoons of water and stir, then add to the pot. This will deglave the pan and allow the pumpkin to coat with the curry easier.
It’s now time to add the cubed pumpkin to the pot and stir well to coat with the curry that’s still in the pot.
Place the lid on the pan and bring to a boil. The pumpkin will naturally sprout it’s own natural juices. Once it starts boiling, add the brown sugar, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 25 minutes – stir every 5 minutes or so. (lid on)
If you wanted you could add any of your fav herbs and some diced onion to the pot for additional flavor. Remove the lid and using the back of your spoon.. crush the pumpkin so it becomes more smooth. Yes, it should be soft at this point. It’s now time to burn off the extra liquid, so crank up the heat and cook for a few minutes.
As most of the liquid burns off, you can now add back the shrimp and stir well. Taste for salt and adjust accordingly as your salt appreciation will be different than mine. Cook for another 2-3 minutes and you’re done.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy pumpkin, especially with a pile of piping hot buss up shut roti and a side of kuchela! If you wanted to do this recipe fully vegan, you can always leave out the shrimp and add the pumpkin when I added the shrimp.. add a bit of coconut milk for extra flavor.