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PADMA LAKSHMI Spiced Curry with Pumpkin

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4 star anise pods
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 medium onion (peeled, diced)
1 red bell pepper (seeded, sliced thin into even strips)
1 piece ginger root (1-inch, peeled, finely chopped)
3 cloves garlic (peeled, minced)
1 tablespoon jalapeno (seeded, minced)
2 cups pumpkin or butternut squash (skin removed, diced into 1-inch cubes)
6 kaffir lime leaves
1 can light unsweetened coconut milk (15 ounces)
1 cup frozen peas (thawed)
1 lemon (juiced)
2 cups cooked brown or Thai jasmine rice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

In a small dry saute pan over medium heat add the star anise, coriander seeds and cumin seeds and toast until fragrant about 1-2 minutes. Remove the coriander spices and cumin seeds to a mortar and pestle, spice grinder, or coffee bean grinder and grind until a fine powder. Set aside.
In a large saute pan, add canola oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add onion and red bell pepper and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add ground spices, star anise pods and jalapeno and mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
Add pumpkin, and kaffir lime leaves and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add coconut milk, bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the pumpkin is fork tender, about 10 minutes.
Remove the kaffir lime leaves and star anise. Add the lemon juice and peas and stir to combine. Serve over brown rice.
Tip: 1. Toasting whole spices brings out the natural oils contained in the spices for a more robust, fresh flavor in cooking.
2. Add your favorite fall squash to this dish. You can always add beans for a boost of protein!

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