Pumpkin Pork Stew


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus 1⁄3 cup, divided use
  • 5 tablespoons ginger, minced, divided use
  • 4 tablespoons minced garlic, divided use
  • 1½ teaspoons turmeric, divided use
  • 1 pound kabocha squash, peeled and seeded
  • 2½ teaspoons salt, divided use
  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • 3 cups onions, finely diced
  • 2 to 3 Thai chilies, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1½ tablespoons fish sauce (optional)
  • ½ cup mint leaves for garnish
  • ½ cup cilantro sprigs for garnish
  • 1 lime or lemon, cut into wedges


Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot and saute 2 tablespoons each of ginger and garlic, about 1 minute. Add ½ teaspoon turmeric and remove from heat. Slice squash into wedges about 1-inch thick, nestle in the pot and add enough water to cover. Add ½ teaspoon salt and simmer 10 to 15 minutes until tender. Cool in liquid; reserve.

Portion the pork into ½-to 1-inch pieces. Toss with remaining 2 teaspoons salt and remaining 1 teaspoon turmeric. Marinate at room temperature for an hour.

Heat remaining 1⁄3 cup oil in a 6-quart pot. Add onions, cook and stir for 4 minutes, and add remaining 3 tablespoons minced ginger and 2 tablespoons minced garlic and cook until glossy. Add pork and chilies if desired and stir to coat. Ladle in 3 cups of pumpkin cooking water, bring to a boil and gently simmer until meat is tender, about 1½ hours.

Add curry powder, fish sauce, pumpkin and ½ cup pumpkin water. Gently simmer, about 10 minutes. Serve with bowls of mint, cilantro and lime wedges
on the side. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Recipe by Chef-owner Desmond Tan, Burma Superstar, San Francisco