Traditional flavours of the Mauritian curry are captured with red kidney beans and zucchini in rich pumpkin curry sauce. This tomato-based curry recipe contains no coconut milk and is relatively low in fat content. Pumpkin puree blended into the curry sauce adds so much richness, warmth and a subtle sweet note – a comforting meal for this autumn season.
Red kidney beans are Kevin’s favourite beans. They remind him of the warm comforting curries that his grandma used to make. When Kevin tells stories about his grandma’s food, I love to listen with mesmerizing fascination. These little tales from his childhood take us both back to a time where great food were made without any recipes – a little bit of this, a pinch of that, all tossed together with a lot of love; they tasted so delicious and each time a little different. This is what made the food of yesteryear so comforting and soulful. Spices were ground on a spice grinding stone known as the “roche cari” (literally translated as curry stone). And food was cooked in round bottom cast iron pans on an open fire outdoor.
Masala hand-prepared from the traditional grinding stone is really something to be experienced! Although we had a grinding stone slab at my parents’ place, I haven’t quite known this experience too often myself as my mum was already using electric blenders and food processors to save time.
Beans alongside potatoes are common ingredients in the Mauritian vegetarian curries. Loosely based on his grandma’s curry, Kevin has captured the essence of traditional flavours with some additions of his own like zucchini and pumpkin puree.
You may substitute the red kidney beans with any beans that you have on hand. We prefer to boil the beans from dried, portion them out into containers or freezer bags and keep them frozen ready to be used. We both love dried beans as we find the taste much nicer. And after soaking and pressure cooking them, they are much more digestible (less gassy) than canned beans. But if canned beans are what you have on hand, then they certainly will do too.
Red Kidney Beans & Zucchini in Rich Tomato-based Pumpkin Curry Sauce
This hearty masala red kidney beans with potatoes contains no coconut milk; it’s tomato-based which is typical of the traditional Mauritian curry and is much lighter on fat content yet it tastes really rich thanks to the pumpkin puree. But if you swear by coconut milk in curries, then you may add a little at the same time when the zucchini is added.
Mauritian curry powder is not easy to come by outside of Mauritius but a good quality curry powder, with spices such as coriander, turmeric, cumin, mustard, fenugreek, black pepper, fennel, chilli and dry curry leaves, is a good substitute.
Red Kidney Beans & Zucchini in Pumpkin Curry Sauce
- 300 g potatoes, [2 small] peeled and diced into chunky cubes (I used red potatoes, white are also good)
- 300 g cooked red kidney beans, [2 cups drained]
- 180 g zucchini, (courgette), [1 medium], cut into half moons of about 1/2 cm thick
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, or cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger, *see recipe notes
- 1 small onion, or shallot, finely chopped (omit if you don't consume)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced (omit if you don't consume)
- 5 - 6 curry leaves, (fresh or dried) or 1 - 2 bay leaves, depending on size
- 1 tablespoon curry powder, (get a good quality fragrant one)
- 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 150 g tomato, [1 medium], chopped or 3/4 cup crushed tomatoes
- 120 ml pumpkin puree, [1/2 cup]
- 1 - 2 fresh green/red chilli, slit lengthwise but not chopped all the way through (or dried red chilli flakes, as per taste)
- Water as required for cooking
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup, or sugar, optional (adjust as per taste depending on the sweetness of the pumpkin)
- 5 - 6 stems coriander, (cilantro), chopped for garnish
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in large pot over medium heat. Add the diced potatoes. Cook while stirring occasionally for about 12 minutes or until potatoes start to brown.
- If potatoes start to stick to the pan, add 2 - 3 tablespoons of water. Cover and continue cooking. Prick with a fork to test for doneness; they should be almost cooked.
- Clear a section of the pan, add minced ginger, onion and garlic (if using) and sauté until onion is softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add spices (curry powder, turmeric and garam masala), curry leaves and green chilli.
- Saute for about 1 minute then add red kidney beans, tomatoes, pumpkin puree and about 1 cup water. Simmer covered for about 12 - 15 minutes until potatoes are fully cooked. Stir occasionally and add more water as required for cooking.
- Stir in the zucchini. Increase the temperature to medium-high. Continue to cook uncovered for a few minutes to reduced the sauce and until the zucchini is tender.
- Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
- If pumpkin is not very sweet, you may add the maple syrup or sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
- Turn off the heat and garnish with fresh coriander (cilantro).
- Serve over rice or with roti/naan.