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Pantry Curry

Sometimes I make up recipes based upon what I have left in my pantry and refrigerator. This is something that would never have happened in my mother’s kitchen where canned goods have been known to linger years past their expiration date.

In my 20s, I moved back home for a year in between roommates and did a fair amount of food shopping to avoid too much take-out from my dad’s hoagie shop. A decade later some of those canned goods can still be found in that very kitchen. But my mother comes by that honestly. When we helped my grandmother move out of her house a few years ago (the same home my mother grew up in), we found a stockpiling of canned goods in her basement that a small army would envy. And to no one’s surprise, most of these items were well beyond their expiration date as well. To this day, my brother and I still yell “Can I get a date check on this?” whenever we pull something from my mom’s cabinets or refrigerator.

If you look through my pantry you will find a lot of canned goods and if any are expired you can be assured that those are from the apartment my husband lived in three years ago. He, too, does not like to part with a non-perishable; however, he has recently requested that I place cans in the dishwasher before disposing of them in the recycle bin. So sometimes you trade one extreme for another in life…and on those days I add a nice big glass of wine to my meal.

Without a great selection of fresh food in stock this week, I decided to scour the pantry for some ideas. I came across canned pumpkin, garbanzo beans and some coconut milk and decided on a curry. You can use a variety of vegetables like spinach or peas in something like this, but fortunately I had a small onion, one tomato, some carrots and a sweet potato in the kitchen.

I’ll warn you – this dish is not for the unadventurous eater. It is a slightly unusual combination of ingredients, but we enjoyed it and someone in our house enjoyed three helpings of curry last night.


Pumpkin & Chick Pea Curry


  • 1 Tb. Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion – finely diced 
  • 2 Carrots – grated
  • 1 tomato – diced
  • 1 sweet potato – cut into medium size chunks
  • 3 Garlic Cloves – finely minced
  • 2 1/2 tbs. Curry Powder – hot or mild, use more or less to taste
  • 1 – 16 ounce can Chick Peas/Garbanzo beans – drained and rinsed
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper – to taste
  • 1/4 Cup Toasted Pumpkin Seeds – for garnish (optional)


Bake sweet potato first at 375 degrees for 40 minutes until almost tender. Heat the oil in a 3 or 4 quart sauce pot over medium-high heat until the oil begins to shimmer. Saute the onions until they begin to turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the grated carrots and tomato to the onions and saute until the carrots begin to release their juices and the onions are beginning to turn golden, about another 3-5 minutes.

Add in the garlic and curry powder and saute for another 30 seconds. Next, stir in the chick peas, coconut milk and pumpkin puree, stirring to incorporate. Add sweet potato (cut into chunks). Season lightly with a pinch of salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and bring the mixture to a simmer; cook for 10 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper and/or toasted curry powder. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds if desired. Serve over couscous or a whole grain brown rice.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Madelene #

    You’re AMAZING!!!!

    November 13, 2009

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