Thai curry

Pumpkin, chickpea and spinach satay

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Satay sauce is one of life’s greatest pleasures. There are many recipes for making this delicious sauce, and wonderful examples are on offer at our best local Thai restaurants.

Recently I was privileged to be the chef for a retreat for women with cancer. The retreat focused on wellbeing, and as the vegan chef, my role was to create delightful, tasty, filling, nourishing meals. Volunteers from the Aratika Trust came each day to juice organic vegetables for the attendees, and I was able to use fresh carrot juice to make one of my most delicious sauces yet.

In another twist, we used almond butter to make the satay sauce, rather than the usual peanut butter. This gave it a more subtle, rich flavour and was a hit with our diners. It’s a more expensive option, but also a good one for those with peanut allergies.

Years ago a friend gave me a recipe for peanut satay sauce that is made from pantry staples – ingredients most people have in their fridges and pantries. It’s a super easy sauce to make and I’ve yet to meet anyone who didn’t love it. It thickens up when it cools, and is a stunning dip.

Ingredients for 4 serves:

  • 2 tsp peanut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 long red chilli, seeds and membrane removed, finely chopped
  • 700gms pumpkin, peeled and chopped into 2-3cm chunks
  • 400ml can coconut cream ½ cup vegetable stock
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets ½ cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 400gm-can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups frozen beans
  • 2 cups spinach leaves or silverbeet
  • ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves (optional)

How to cook pumpkin, chickpea and spinach satay:

  1. Preheat oven to 180◦C. Toss pumpkin and onion with 2 Tbsp oil and roast for 15 minutes. When it comes out of the oven, throw the cauliflower in with the pumpkin and let the heat soften it a little.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan and gently cook garlic, ginger and chilli for 1 minute, stirring. Add pumpkin, onion and cauliflower and stir to combine.
  3. Pour in coconut cream and stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes until all the vegetables are cooked. Add the frozen beans and cook for a further 3-4 minutes, then add peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar and chickpeas, stir and allow to heat through.
  4. Stir in spinach leaves (and ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves if you have it) just before serving.

Words and Images Carol Garden, Food Garden