This Lab Farewell Cookbook recipe comes from Nat. She'd be the first to admit that she's not a fancy or especially enthusiastic cook, yet she's one of the two people who took charge of on this whole cookbook project as a gift to me.
Paradoxically, I knew that her recipe would be a handy one - she shared one of her stand-by dishes, something she made to low-key impress her partner in their early days of dating. It's a bowl of pumpkin, rice and Thai curry flavours that Michael easily pulled off on a weeknight. It's got roughly the texture and all the comfort of a risotto, right down to the more solid and perfectly microwaveable leftovers that we packed for lunch.
We're getting pumpkins on the regular in our CERES boxes, so this is gonna get the repeat treatment for sure.
Nat's pumpkin rice dish
(a recipe shared by Nat in the Lab Farewell Cookbook,
where she credits it to Jamie Oliver)
a small handful of makrut lime leaves
2-3 chillies, seeds removed and finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
2 thumb-sized pieces ginger, peeled
3 sticks lemongrass, outer leaves removed
large handful coriander, leaves picked and stalks chopped
1 heaped teaspoon Chinese five-spice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
600 - 1000g pumpkin, peeled and chopped into 5cm pieces
565mL vegetable stock
200g basmati rice
400mL coconut milk
salt and pepper
juice of 1-2 limes
Use a mortar and pestle, spice grinder or blender to make the fragrant soup base: smoosh together the lime leaves, chilli, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander stalks, five-spice and cumin. Remove any stringy bits that remain.
Heat the olive oil in a very large saucepan and add the pulpy soup base. Stir in the onion and cook on low-medium heat for 10 minutes until soft and fragrant. Add the pumpkin and stock, stirring everything together and then bringing it to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on until the pumpkin is soft, about 15 minutes. Stir in the rice; it's OK if some of the pumpkin mushes up. Simmer under the rice is cooked, a further 10-15 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in the coconut milk, and season with salt and pepper. Remove it from the heat, add the lime juice to taste and serve garnished with coriander leaves.