Quick & Spicy Burmese Pumpkin Curry

This delicious and simple pumpkin curry recipe is Burmese in origin and cooks in just 30 minutes making it a perfect midweek dinner!

Portrait image of a steaming hot pumpkin curry with white rice served in a stainless steel curry bowl

The Best Quick Squash Curry

This recipe is responsible for a new found love of all things squash and pumpkin.

Pumpkin was always something I avoided, now it is something I cook with all of the time.

This curry recipe is very different from many of my usual curries. Rather than relying on lots of dried spices, it relies on a simpler set of ingredients.

Inspired by a recipe from a book called Burma by Naomi Duguid it has become a regular feature on our menu.

It cooks in just 30 minutes and is one of the dishes that I get excited about when pumpkin season approaches.

Portrait close up image of a steaming hot pumpkin curry

What Sort of Pumpkin to Use?

I usually make this curry with a butternut squash. The primary reason for this is that they are on the smaller side.

As a result of this, there is not too much leftover.

I will probably get two or three meals from a butternut squash and I can not be doing with the same meal over and over!

I will usually call it squash week and over a few days I will maybe have this, my butternut squash tagine and then possibly my butternut squash pasta.

Did I mention that this recipe costs pennies to make?

Anyway I digress, you can make this with any old squash or pumpkin.

If I am using a larger pumpkin then I will typically roast it off and make a pumpkin puree.

That forms the basis of both my pumpkin risotto recipe which is glorious!

Portrait image of a pumpkin curry with white rice served in two stainless steel curry bowls

Ingredient Guide.

There is one ingredient that you may not be so familiar with in this recipe.

That is shrimp paste, you should be able to find it in any Asian supermarket.

It is essentially a mix of mashed up shrimp, that is left to ferment. It sounds awful and smells pretty ropey, but it adds a delicious spicy intensity to any recipe.

It also gets used a lot in Thai food and features in both my Thai Red Curry Paste and Green Curry Paste.

My British readers will be more than aware of mint sauce but if you are from the US then you may need a hand.

Mint sauce is a mix of mint, vinegar and sugar.

It is far from being a typical Burmese ingredient, originally the recipe calls for a type of acid, some sugar and mint. So in reality pretty analogous!

To make your own mint sauce grab a big handful of mint, add 50ml of vinegar, 50 ml of boiling water, then salt and sugar to make it to your taste.

Landscape close up image of a pumpkin curry served with white rice
Recipe for Easy Burmese Pumpkin Curry

Recipe for Easy Burmese Pumpkin Curry

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Pumpkin is the most wonderfully versatile ingredient and this pumpkin curry of Burmese influence is softened with Tamarind with a beautiful mint back note.


  • 50 g Tamarind Pulp
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Turmeric
  • 75 g Onion
  • 30 g Ginger
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Chilli Pepper
  • 1/2 Tsp Shrimp Paste
  • 500 g Diced Pumpkin
  • 1 Tsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Mint Sauce


  1. Roughly chop the Tamarind pulp and placed in a bowl with 150ml boiling water.
  2. Allow to steep for 10 minutes stirring occasionally and then pass the liquid through a fine sieve reserving the liquid and discarding the pulp.
  3. Grate the ginger and onion, then mash the garlic cloves.
  4. Finely chop the chilli pepper.
  5. Add the cooking oil to a heavy based pan over a medium heat
  6. When the oil is up to temperature add the turmeric, stir then immediately add the garlic, ginger, chilli and grated onion.
  7. Cook for 3-4 minute stirring occasionally
  8. Add the chilli shrimp paste and stir to incorporate then add the pumpkin and stir to coat
  9. Add the tamarind liquid you prepared earlier along with the fish sauce and 100ml of water.
  10. Cover with a lid and cook until the pumpkin is cooked which should take about 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the pumpkin
  11. Remove from the heat and stir in the mint sauce and check the seasoning.
  12. If you need more salt a little more fish sauce or a bit of salt.


Serve with boiled rice.

Adapted from Burma by Naomi Duguid

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 514 Total Fat: 25g Saturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 14g Cholesterol: 68mg Sodium: 1996mg Carbohydrates: 53g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 7g Sugar: 22g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 24g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

30 thoughts on this Recipe:

  1. I do love pumpkin so will definitely have to try this – looks and sounds absolutely delicious. Love that it only takes a short while to make too!

  2. You might be a pumpkin newbie but this sounds glorious! In Sri Lanka, pumpkin with tamarind is very popular and this one you have here is making me wish I had some right now.

  3. It’s been a few years since I’ve had actual pumpkin. Now, I’m craving it! I’ve had pureed pumpkin and pumpkin seeds, but not big chunks of whole pumpkin. Looks great, B!

    • Thanks, I love big chunks of food, I have an inherent distrust of food that is mushed up or pureed, probably some childhood trauma thing ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. I love Tamarind, and I can only imagine how awesome this tastes in this curry. Such a lovely and savory dish for fall ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Brian, another really nice recipe with your usual great pictures. I think pumpkin is so underrated and I love using tamarind. Yes a really good one for autumn (although it is spring here)! Cheers.

    • Thanks Mark, this is opnly my second year cooking pumpkin, I had convinced myself I didn’t like it for years after too many really poor pumpkin soups… But it is the most incredibly versatile vegetable and I now love it!

  6. I loove tamarind so much,that even reading your post just made me salivate! Never thought to use it iin curry, we just make juice and add it to chilli. But yea gonna try this , Still salivating

    • Thank you, the tamarind in this dish goes so well with the sweetness of the pumpkin. I use it in quite a lot of curries especially if I am adding something sweet as it set up that whole sweet & sour vibe ๐Ÿ™‚


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