This easy Cod Curry with Pumpkin is made with a spiced pumpkin-tomato sauce, fresh spinach, and gently poached cod.
How do you feel about fall? Do you love it, with its bright leaves and crisp air? Or does it fill you with a little bit of anxiety, because you know that winter is just around the corner? I used to dread fall, since it inevitably meant icy winter was coming– but for a few years now I’ve decided to embrace the changing weather.
Yes, it’s true– showy, bright autumn is followed by a quieter, colder winter. But that also means that nature has a time to breathe, just before new life bursts out in spring.
For me, part of embracing fall has meant celebrating the foods that make it so special. One of those foods is pumpkin. This Cod Curry with Pumpkin is made with warming spices, delicately poached fish, and a flavorful pumpkin and tomato sauce.
Have you tried poaching fish yet? Does it sound intimidating? Poaching fish is, in my opinion, without a doubt, absolutely the EASIEST way to cook fish. Here’s why.
When you bake fish, you have to watch the cook time carefully to keep the fish from drying out. When you sear fish, you have to make sure the fish has been dried off, brought to room temperature, and is placed in a hot pan.
When you grill fish, you have to (as with baking) watch the cook time so that it doesn’t dry out, and take steps to keep it from sticking to the grill plate.
None of those things are exceptionally tricky– BUT– when you poach fish, you don’t have to do ANY of that. You simply have to add the fish to a sauce, and let it simmer until it’s cooked through.
Since you’re cooking it inside a liquid, the fish won’t dry out. Even better, when you cook it in a sauce that you’ll be eating, such as a curry or a soup, it’s a-okay if you accidentally forget about the fish, and it starts to fall apart a little into the soup.
Making Cod Curry
One of my favorite fish to poach is cod, because you can basically add it to any savory soup or curry. Cod has a very mild flavor, and it picks up the seasonings in the poaching liquid, so you don’t need to worry about it clashing with the flavors already in the dish. Adding cod to your stew, soup, or curry is a fabulous way to add a little protein to a dish, or turn a side dish into a main dish.
I buy my cod from my favorite seafood supplier– Orca Bay. Their Pacific Cod fillets are high-quality, and have a clean, delicious flavor. Plus, they’re sustainably sourced from Alaska’s Pacific Coast waters, just like the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program recommends.
Order Orca Bay Online: Use my Ambassador Code: champagnetastes for 15% off!
Find Orca Bay locally: Use their store finder.
Making Cod Curry with Pumpkin
To make Cod Curry, start by gathering a few ingredients. You’ll need pumpkin purée and cod, of course, but you’ll also need some spices. You need mustard seeds, smoked paprika, and garam masala. Mustard seeds and smoked paprika should be in the spice aisle at your grocery store.
Garam masala is an Indian spice mixture. If you’ve got a Middle Eastern market, a spice store, an international market, or a Whole Foods nearby– you can find garam masala. Otherwise, you can very easily make your own with cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, ground ginger, and cardamom. (Check the Recipe Notes for a garam masala recipe.)
You’ll also need some green onions, a little garlic, fresh spinach, and a can of tomatoes. Personally, I like to use San Marzano* tomatoes in dishes like this one where the tomatoes have such a big impact on the final flavor. San Marzano tomatoes are canned tomatoes from Italy, and are canned tomatoes at their finest.
One bite, and I feel like I’m back in the Italian countryside. They also cost a little more than most canned tomatoes (think $4-$5 per can), and if you prefer to swap them out for a different canned tomato or fresh tomatoes, you can.
Once you’ve got all your ingredients, you’ll start by frying the spices in a little oil, then add the onions, and then the tomatoes and pumpkin. Let everything simmer for a few minutes, then add the cod. Cover your pan, and check back about five minutes later.
Once the cod is opaque and cooked-through, you’re ready! Serve your cod curry with some crusty bread, or with rice. You could even eat this Pumpkin Cod Curry outside while you enjoy fall’s crisp, cool breeze!
Quick Tip: Recently, there has been a food scandal over mislabeled, inauthentic San Marzano tomato cans. Make sure you’re buying the real thing, because the knock-offs won’t taste the same. Authentic San Marzano tomatoes will be whole canned tomatoes, with an ID number, a D.O.P. number, and will be labeled “Pomodoro S. Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino.”
Cod Curry with Pumpkin
Easy Fall Seafood Curry
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1 TB mustard seeds
- 1 TB garam masala spice mix (use pre-made, or see recipe notes*)
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 6 green onions, diced (use both the white bottoms and green tops)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 28oz can San Marzano whole tomatoes
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 3 oz fresh spinach (about 2 handfuls)
- 2 cod fillets (~4oz each) Orca Bay recommended
- lemon or lime wedge
- Garnish with (Optional): fresh cilantro (2-3 sprigs, or as desired)
- Serve with (Optional): 1 cup white, basmati, or jasmine rice OR crusty white bread
If serving with rice, begin cooking the rice according to package directions.
Heat olive oil on medium heat in a large pan. Add mustard seeds, and let them fry in the oil until they begin to pop.
Add garam masala and smoked paprika, and sauté 1-2 minutes until the spices become fragrant.
Add the onions, garlic, and salt, and sauté 1-2 more minutes.
Add canned tomatoes to the pan, and use a chef's knife to roughly cut the tomatoes into smaller pieces. Add the pumpkin. Let the mixture simmer on medium for about 5 minutes.
Add the fresh spinach, and stir the spinach into the tomato-pumpkin mixture.
Set the two cod fillets on top of the tomato-pumpkin mixture, and cover the pan. Set a timer for 5 minutes, and allow the fish to poach in the curry.
Uncover the pan-- the fish should be opaque white and cooked through.
Serve your curry as a soup, along with a chunk of bread (if desired), or as curry with a side of rice.
Top curry with cilantro (optional), and squeeze a little fresh lemon or lime juice over the cod right before serving.
*To make Homemade Garam Masala: grind together: 1 cinnamon stick, 1 tsp black peppercorns, 1 tsp cloves, 1/3 tsp ground ginger, 2 cardamom pods. (Alternatively, use 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, and ground versions of the other spices and mix together.)
Calorie Information was calculated per serving using My Fitness Pal, and does not include optional rice or bread.