Kabocha & Sweet Potato Curry

Kabocha & sweet potato curry

November 3, 2023

After writing my post about cookbooks, I started thinking about what draws me to the recipes of certain chefs. Obviously, one of the most important things is they are making things I want to eat. Equally important are the recipes are such that I can make them myself. Nigella Lawson’s recipes fit the bill

Kabocha & sweet potato curry

I am not a domestic goddess

In her shows, Nigella seems to effortlessly pull together glittering, intimate dinner parties. And while I realize, most of that is staged, when it comes to the recipes she prepares, they are relatively easy, usually not requiring special equipment or ingredients. 

Kabocha & sweet potato curry ingredients
Curry ingredients include kabocha pumpkin, cilantro, sweet potato, ginger, jalapeño, and turmeric

Why I like this recipe

What first drew me to this recipe were the vibrant colors – the bright orange of the curry topped with the fresh green of the cilantro. In her television show, Nigella served the curry with a black Venus rice – I’m not quite sure what that is but I could find black forbidden rice pretty easily in my local grocery store. And while the orange and black give off Halloween vibes, this curry does equally well with white rice, be it basmati, short grain, or sticky rice, or no rice at all.

Dramatic presentation is not enough for me to like a recipe, it has to taste good. And this curry is delicious.

Kabocha & sweet potato curry - close up


Nigella’s original recipe called for butternut squash, not kabocha. When I lived in New England, butternut squash was easy to find in the fall. In Hawaii I see it occasionally in the grocery store or farmer’s market, but not as abundantly so. Kabocha pumpkin, on the other hand, is readily available. While the skin of the kabocha is edible, for this recipe, for aesthetics, I remove it.

In the UK, and Nigella’s recipe, they use red chillies. I’ve seen these used in cooking shows but I am unsure of the equivalent in the States so I substitute jalapeño peppers. We like heat so we use them with the seeds and ribs but these may be removed according to taste.

And finally, we are not a vegetarian household so when I make this curry, I often substitute chicken broth for the vegetable broth – we just have it on hand all the time. And sometimes I will mix in a bit of rotisserie chicken for some added protein (and to satisfy the meat-eaters in the family).

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Kabocha & sweet potato curry

Kabocha & Sweet Potato Curry

  • Author: Nigella Lawson (modified)
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This is a delicious and hearty vegetarian/vegan curry that is full of flavor and heat. Serve it garnished with cilantro and lime juice over rice.



1 red onion (peeled and cut into chunks)

23 jalapeños (ribs and seeds removed according to taste, cut into large chunks)

3-inch piece of fresh ginger (peeled and cut into thick coins)

2 cloves garlic (peeled and smashed)

3-inch piece of fresh turmeric (peeled and roughly chopped or 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric)

1 teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk, unshaken

1½ cups vegetable broth

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 pound sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into large bite-sized pieces)

2 pounds kabocha (peeled, seeds removed, and cut into large bite-sized pieces)


Place the onion, jalapeños, ginger, garlic, turmeric, ground cinnamon, ground coriander, and salt into a food processor and pulse until formed into a chunky paste. You may also do this in a bowl with an immersion blender.

Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy pot. Fry the paste for about a minute, stirring well. (Note: if you use a wooden spoon, it may stain from the turmeric.)

Carefully open the can of coconut milk and spoon the thick coconut cream into the pot. Stir well and heat through for a minute.

Stir in the remaining contents of the coconut milk can along with the vegetable broth and tomatoes. Stir well.

Add the kabocha and sweet potato to the pot; stir well. Bring to a boil then cover and turn down to medium-low. Allow to simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft and the kabocha is cooked through. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.

Serve with rice, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Inactive Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Main Dishes
  • Cuisine: British-Thai


  • Calories: 546.4
  • Sugar: 19.8 g.
  • Sodium: 1153.68 mg.
  • Fat: 31.2 g.
  • Saturated Fat: 22.11 g.
  • Carbohydrates: 68.29 g.
  • Fiber: 13.19 g.
  • Protein: 8.59 g.
  • Cholesterol: 0

Keywords: sweet potato, kabocha, coconut milk

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