I’ve been distinctly depressed this week. Perhaps that’s a misuse of the term. Not in a serious-mental-health-sense, but more so the downhearted, disconsolate kind. What triggered this bout of dejectedness? I ashamed to say. Twas the film Insurgent. Alrighty, don’t judge too harshly! More specifically (and in a similar line to the Hunger Games etc. – i.e. those kinds of movies) it was the female protagonist in particular who prompted this downhearted spell. Why? They’re so goddam baddass it hurts. Never fail, every time I watch these kinds of films I want to a) be them or b) become a stunt artist. Neither of which is going to happen. Reality check. It’s not the killing, heart/gut wrenching situations, the perpetual fear/anxiety or even the complicated-yet-passionate blooming romance I’m after, nuh-uh. It’s that sense of being strong, of giving it absolutely everything and then some more, of wholly devoting yourself to a cause/situation. Of being fearless – “take my hand, drag me headfirst, fearless” (obligatory T-Swizzle reference there; it appears we’re letting loose with all the dorky confessions today!).
The moping is eventually surpassed by determination. You might not be able to scale buildings/leap out of moving trains/hold your own in a fist-fight, but you can run. You can run, and run, and then run some more. You can climb mountains. Give it 110% in a HIIT class and imagine you’re the badass chick from that film. Not lame at all, especially if it gets you through the session! Those muscles can still scream, that breath whistle through your throat, the sweat trickle down your forehead. Nothing’s stopping you from that. You can also make a mean curry. Not in the fiery/set your hair on end sense. Taste-wise it’s mild for one of it’s kind, leaning towards a creamy, aromatic flavour. Slightly sour due to the lime, a hint of nuttiness thanks to the coconut milk and chickpeas, distinctly Sri-Lankan with the lemongrass…
Packed with nutrient-loaded veggies, legumes, spices and herbs it’s also pretty damn mean in the sense of boosting that immune system and fuelling the body. Having inevitably caught the bout of college-flu that’s been doing the rounds this is the exact dish I’d be making were I not at college. Oh the irony. Whether you’re feeling poorly and in need of a nutritious pick-me-up, or you’re rather feeling morose about not being as kickass as you’d like to be, this Sri Lankan Coconut Pumpkin Curry can give a helping hand. And hey, you’re destiny may not be as badass as you’d fancy, but that doesn’t mean you’re immune to inspiration. If you feel like kick-boxing your way down the corridor, go for it. No judgement given.
Sri Lankan Coconut Pumpkin Curry
2 tbsp sunflower oil
500g butternut squash, peeled, deseeded & cut into 2cm chunks
1 large red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
5cm piece ginger, peeled & grated
3 garlic cloves, peeled & finely chopped
1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed & finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
400ml can lite coconut milk
500ml vegetable stock
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
½ large red capsicum, cut into 2cm by 4cm pieces
1 zucchini, cut into thin half moons
400g can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When shimmering add the pumpkin and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until caramelised. Toss in the chilli and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add the onion, ginger, garlic & lemongrass and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add the lime juice and cook, stirring, for one minute.
Pour in a splash of coconut milk and wait until the pumpkin ‘absorbs’ it before adding the remainder, along with the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Stir every so often.
Add the broccoli, capsicum, zucchini and chickpeas and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender. Season well with salt and pepper.
Remove the pot from the heat and let ‘rest’ 10 minutes prior to serving.
Serve over brown rice.
Will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 days. Can also be frozen for up to 2 months.
Source: Adapted from The Slow Cook Book.