Vegetarian Kabocha Curry on Papadum Crisps

by Jeanne Benedict

Post image for Vegetarian Kabocha Curry on Papadum Crisps

I stumbled upon a package of papadum disks, large crispy wafers served in Indian restaurants, in the store while shopping for a cocktail party and thought they would make tasty round crisps for an Indian-inspired recipe. Typically, papadoms are about 6 to 8 inches in diameter. For this recipe I quartered each uncooked disk, making them bite-size rounds, and then fried them. The end result was fabulous! Kabocha is a Japanese squash that is bright orange when peeled and very sweet (reminds me of a pumpkin on the inside and a green knobby squash on the outside). I first had kabocha a couple of years ago as a soup, and now it seems to be available in most grocery stores in Los Angeles. This is a great recipe to include for an hors d’oeuvre party, especially when some guests are vegetarian.

Vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 cup peeled and diced kabocha (about 1/2-inch cubes)
1 cup broccoli florets, finely chopped
1 cup canned chickpeas or garbanzo beans (rinsed & drained)
1/2 cup Thai coconut milk (Thai style is creamy & thick)
1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
8 uncooked papadum disks

Heat 2 tablespoon of oil, garlic, and ginger in a large skillet over medium-high for a minute. Add kabocha and cook, stirring occasionally, until kabocha is lightly browned and just tender; about 5 – 10 minutes. Stir in broccoli, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add coconut milk, brown sugar, curry and salt, and cook until milk thickens and flavors blend; about 1 – 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in chickpeas. Transfer to a bowl and cool. Cover and refrigerate.

Cut papadum disks into quarters and then trim the edges of each quarter to make little squares with rounded corners.

Fill a medium-size saucepan halfway with oil and heat on medium-high. Drop a piece of papadum into the oil, and if it floats to the top and sizzles it is ready! Turn heat to medium and carefully drop a papadum square in the oil. Fry for 10 to 20 seconds or until papadum is golden brown. Use tongs, a wok basket, or kitchen “spider” to remove papadum from the oil to a bed of paper towels to absorb the excess oil. These shells are best when made the morning or day of the party.

Bring kabocha curry mixture to room temperature just before serving. Top each papadom crisp with about a tablespoon of kabocha curry mixture and arrange on a serving platter for guests.

Makes about 32 appetizers

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