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.

It also cooks in just 30 minutes, this means that this thing is on my dinner table as soon as pumpkin season arrives.

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

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

My British readers will be more than aware of mint sauce.

It is far from being a typical Burmese ingredient, originally the recipe calls for a type of acid, some sugar and mint.

If you are not British then mint sauce is mint, vinegar and sugar, so to me the sub makes perfect sense.

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 Chilli 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.

45 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. Cooking with veggies you’ve grown yourself must be an amazing feeling, not to mention absolutely delicious. I envy you!

  3. 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.

  4. I’ve never had Burmese food, but this looks fab! I did meet a guy from Burma last summer, but unfortunately he was on his way back to Myanmar. So I guess I’ll just have to make this!

    • This tastes wonderful and you should have most of the ingredients based on what you cook ๐Ÿ™‚ I name checked the book in the post and it is well worth hunting down, some really great recipes in there!

  5. 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˜‰

  6. LOL at the carrot wine! I am a pumpkin newbie too! I’ve never really cooked with it, even though it’s all I see during the fall! Your curry looks amazing, I’m a such a huge fan of curry. I’m sure the pumpkin adds an awesome flavor & texture!

    • You went and mentioned it again, I still have nightmares about ‘C’ wine shhhhhhh! Thank you the flavours in this dish are amazing, we love it!

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

    • Thank you, it really is a special one, I love tamarind and the sour earthiness plays really well against the sweetness of pumpkin.

  8. I love falling in love with foods I thought I hated! You might make a pumpkin lover out of me too ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. This! I am making it soon! I really need to stop browsing your website before I go on a small cooking hiatus. The closest Burmese restaurant is 25 minutes away, but I’d really rather enjoy this at home in pajamas haha

    • Ha ha, I am so sorry ๐Ÿ˜‰ This is a great dish and the one I credit with my current love of pumpkin… I am rather envious of your 25 mile away restaurant, I have not found a Burmese restaurant in Hungary at all!

  10. 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!

  11. Oooh I’m loving these flavors. Especially the chili shrimp paste, I had no idea such a thing existed. Yum.

    • Thanks Christine, dried shrimp pastes are a relatively common ingredient in Asian, particularly South East Asian foods… They add a subtle back end flavour to a dish and the stuff keeps forever so easy to have in the store cupboard. A word from the afflicted though, don’t try a taste of the stuff it is pretty unpleasant until cooked, I learned that the wrong way ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. 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™‚

  13. haha, I’m also a pumpkin/ butternut squash newbie ๐Ÿ˜€
    But as soon as I knew how to cut it correctly i already felt most people a step ahead. This curry looks really good!!

    • Cheers Howie, I struggled with pumpkin cutting too… I went through more than a couple of band aids but I am really on top of it now and it is a favourite Autumnal vegetable.

  14. I’m with you… I much prefer savory pumpkin over sweet! What a great recipe, and even better pictures! Beautiful!

    • Thanks Heather, I’m one of them odd folk that love everything savoury, sweet not so much… However a touch of sweet with savoury is my heaven.

  15. I love that you’ve made a savory pumpkin dish. As much as I’m loving all the pumpkin treats, I think I need to back away from the honey pot for a bit and eat some REAL FOOD. This curry is the perfect place to start!

    • Thanks Sarah, I would not even know where to begin with a sweet pumpkin dish to be honest with you… Pumpkin pie is not really a big thing on this side of the Atlantic and I don’t really have much of a sweet tooth ๐Ÿ˜‰

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