Hearth & Soul's Sour Pumpkin Curry with Spiced Rice and Argan Oil

This delicious recipe was crafted by the amazing and kind Rachel Jelly from Hearth & Soul in Newtown, Sydney. 

She's been leading the Hearth & Soul crew, along with volunteers, to support struggling Sydneysiders with free meals every Friday night. Serving up a delicious rotating menu weekly, they offered it free to any staff and employer of any industry who had lost their jobs or income as a result of the Covid pandemic. ⁠

We wanted to thank Rachel and the team for their amazing generosity and kindness! As a small gesture, we offered them some of our culinary argan oil to include on their free meal, and boy is it delicious!⁠

We love how versatile argan oil can be, being used in this tasty curry dish.

youforher Hearth & Soul's Sour Pumpkin Curry with Argan Oil

"This gorgeous curry is sour, sweet and spicy. Softly roasted, sweet seasonal pumpkins are given a nice little kick with a snazzy spice mix, and a lovely lip-smack from some sticky, sour tamarind. The nutty, toasty, all-round delicious flavour of argan oil provides the perfect finish - I like to drizzle the argan oil over the finished curry, to really accentuate its gorgeous flavour. I serve this curry with a spiced rice, and I’ve included the recipe for that below, but it would be just as delicious with plain rice, roti or naan bread." - Rachel


Serves 4-5


For the curry:

  • 3 tablespoons tamarind pulp (you can buy this at Asian or specialty grocers)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 kg pumpkin (about half of a medium-large pumpkin)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 8 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 cardamom pods – bruised (push down on them with the flat side of your knife, or the back of a spoon, until they crack open a little)
  • One cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3-4 cups of stock - you can use beef, chicken, fish or veggie stock depending on your preference or what you have on hand (here’s a handy video showing you how to make your own meat stock). You can even use water if you don’t have any stock.
  • Vegetable or olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons of argan oil

For the spice mix:

  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red chilli flakes, depending on the strength of your chilli and how spicy you want your curry
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cloves

For the spiced rice: (or you can serve the curry with plain rice, roti, naan bread, or whatever your heart is calling you to)

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1.5 cups rice
  • 4 cups water


Sour pumpkin curry:

1. Chop the pumpkin into 2cm cubes (do not peel). Pour over a few lugs of oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper, toss everything to coat, and then roast in a 220C oven until tender and browned (about 20-30 mins).
2. Break the tamarind pulp into pieces, place it into a bowl and pour over boiling water so that the tamarind pieces are just covered by the water. Cover the bowl and leave it to sit. 
3. Place all spices for spice mix in a dry pan and toast until fragrant, stirring frequently as they start to cook - stay close to the pan, you want them fragrant but not burnt. Grind to a coarse powder in a mortar and pestle or food processor. 
4. Peel and chop your onion and garlic, your onion to a medium dice and your garlic reasonably finely. Keep them separate. 
5. Heat some oil in a large pot or frying pan. Add the onion, and cook for a few minutes, stirring with reasonable frequency, until it’s softened but not browned. Add the curry leaves and cook until they start to crisp. Add the spice mix, turmeric, cardamom and cinnamon stick and cook until the spices are fragrant. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. 
6. Add the stock. Press the tamarind pulp and its soaking water through a sieve with the back of a spoon to create a tamarind paste. Add this to the curry. 
7. Cook until the sauce has the consistency of pouring cream. Essentially, the more you reduce the sauce, the stronger the flavour of the curry will get. You can taste and tinker until it’s to your liking - you can add more stock or water if you need to. Once the sauce is ready, add the roasted pumpkin and bring everything back to the boil. Add the coconut milk, then season with salt and pepper. 
8. Ladle into bowls and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of argan oil. Serve with the spiced rice below, or plain rice, roti or naan bread.

Spiced rice:

1.  Fry the chopped onion in a healthy amount of oil until softened. Add the spices and fry, stirring constantly, until the spices are fragrant. Cook in either of the following ways:

If using a rice cooker:
  1. Place onions and spices in the rice cooker, add the rice and stir it all together.
  2. Add the water, and turn the rice cooker on to cook.

If using a pot on the stove:

  1. Place onions and spices in the pot, add the rice and stir it all together.
  2. Add the water. If you place your index finger on the top of the rice, the water should come up to the first joint of your finger. You can add more water if needed.
  3. Bring to the boil then turn down to a medium heat and cook until the water is evaporated.
  4. Turn the heat off and let the rice sit for 10 minutes or so before serving.