1 1/2 qts. peeled, 1 1/2-in. chunks pumpkin or other orange-fleshed squash (from a 3-lb. squash) (I used Delicata)
About 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided (I used olive)
1 onion, halved and cut into half-moons
1 or 2 red or green serrano chiles, minced
1 cinnamon stick (2 1/2 in. long)
20 fresh curry leaves* or 6 dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 can (14.5 oz.) coconut milk ( I used low fat and some chicken broth)
1 cup salted roasted cashews (I sprinkle a few per serving on top)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Steamed basmati rice (I used brown)
1. Sprinkle pumpkin with 1/2 tsp. salt. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Brown half the pumpkin in oil, turning once, 6 to 8 minutes; reduce heat if pumpkin starts getting dark. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with 1 tbsp. oil and remaining pumpkin.
2. Heat remaining 1 tbsp. oil meanwhile in another large frying pan over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until deep golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer half to the nonstick frying pan and reserve other half in a bowl.
3. Add chiles, cinnamon, and curry leaves to onion in pan. Cook, stirring often, until curry leaves are very fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add turmeric, cumin, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring, until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.
4. Return pumpkin to nonstick frying pan (with onion) and add coconut milk. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer until pumpkin is tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in cashews and lemon juice, and add more salt to taste. Top curry with reserved onion and serve with rice. Add fresh herbs like mint and cilantro and basil.