Do you ever give up anything for Lent?  Chocolates, alcohol, music, desserts?  I believe I did in my youth as we followed a very strict Catholic regimen, but these days I don’t have the will-power nor the drive to sustain these traditions.  However, I do try to adhere to the Friday Lenten observation when Catholics do not eat meat on a Friday.  In doing so, I do try to come up with various fish or vegetarian dinners on Fridays during Lent. Here’s one example.

Have you ever tried white pumpkin also known as bottle gourd or squash?  It has many other names as well.  It is a large oblong vegetable with a pale green skin and has many uses in Asian cooking.   The flesh is white, and is a good source of fiber and  has many health benefits.  When I first found it in the international market, it evoked some warm memories from Kenya, where I grew up.  I recall my mother making this dish many times.  The slight delicate taste of the white pumpkin and the savory and spicy prawns were a good match.  This dish is popular in Goa (India) where it is often served during the Lenten season.

Goan Prawn and Pumpkin curry


  • 1 1/2 lbs shrimp cleaned and de-veined
  • 2 lbs white pumpkin cleaned and cut into one inch cubes
  • 1 cup coconut milk – I used 4 tablespoons of the Maggi brand powder dissolved in water
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4 green chilies
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch ginger cut into small straws
  • 4-5 sprigs of coriander leaves
  • 3 tablespoons tamarind pulp
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • 1/2 Maggi stock cube
  • oil as required


  1. Grind the following ingredients – coriander leaves, garlic, ginger, 1/2 Maggi cube, turmeric powder, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns, green chilies, cumin seeds and coriander seeds with a little water.
  2. In a pot, add oil and saute the onion once they turn translucent, add tomatoes and ginger straws.
  3. Add the ground masala and half the Maggi cube.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add salt to taste.
  5. Now add the white pumpkin and the prawns and coconut milk.
  6. Cook for 3 minutes, add the tamarind pulp which imparts a wonderful tangy taste to the curry.

Recipe source: Adapted from Delicious memories with Alves Fernandes


26 Replies to “Goan Prawn and pumpkin curry”

    1. I guess I was talking about Indian green chilies Julie. But I’m sure a jalapeno would work just as well. I found these pumpkins in the International Farmers market up the road. I always bypassed them, but this time I stopped and picked one up. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha Elaine, your comment cracked me up, as it did Molly a bit below 🙂 It has a slightly sweet taste to it, but not as tough as butternut squash (to touch). You just get rid of the seeds and the spongy center; it literally takes less than 5 minutes to cook, so I put it in at the very end. I’m sure with all that you get there, you’re bound to find it in an Asian or International store.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m laughing at Elaine’s comment above! 🙂 🙂 🙂 What a beautiful dish this is, Loretta. I am not a huge fan of the larger squashes, but I would eat this in a heartbeat! I didn’t realize or had forgotten you were from Kenya, but I know I’ve seen several Goan recipes on your site – did you live there as well?


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Mollie. Elaine is a trip, isn’t she? No, I have not lived in Goa, but my parents hailed from Goa. I was born in Mumbai, and at the tender age of 3 moved to Kenya with my family, so I have never really experienced life in India. I was 20 when I left Kenya for England, 25 when I left England for Canada, and 29 when I left Canada for the USA, and the rest is history… you see how terribly mixed up I am? LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Johanne. You could find it in any International food store or Asian stores around you. I’m sure anything can be substituted really because the curry itself is just so full of flavor.


  2. Loretta,
    I have not used white pumpkin with shrimp before but would certainly try this dish! White pumpkin (dudhi) is supposed to be good for health and I like to add it in sambar.
    I admire people giving up a food for lent…..I don’t think I can give up any food 🙂


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