This Pumpkin Curry is the ultimate winter comfort food! Including hidden ingredients to intensity its robust aromatic flavours. It’s nutritious, filling, easy to prepare and the best way to use seasonal ingredients.

The snow has started falling and my body has been craving nothing but stews, soups & curries. As much as I love indian, thai and coconut based curries nothing brings me more comfort than Japanese style curries. It takes me back to my childhood when I would come home from school after trekking through the snow and have a blast of the super aromatic smell of curry filling my nose. This curry was inspired by my mom and her curry recipe.

The vegetables (other than kabocha/pumpkin) used in this recipe can be changed up and you can use whatever you have on hand! Kabocha is in season and so flavourful around this time- I am in love. I have also included a special ingredient to intensity and bring out the flavours of this delicious curry: coffee. Yup, COFFEE. In Japanese cuisine, kakushi aji is often used. Kakushi aji mean hidden flavours and these hidden flavours are meant to bring out and intensity the flavours of the main ingredient or add a accent to the dish.

I’ve tried all kinds of kakushi aji’s in curries and my favourite has to be coffee. It’s bold flavours truly enhance the spices used in this recipe. If you want a more sweet curry recipe, you can try adding in grated apples or ketchup! If you want an even more rich and bold flavour, dark chocolate is delicious. Play around with hidden ingredients and find what you like!

Why I love this curry & why you will too! It’s:

  • vegan & gluten free

  • nutritious and comforting

  • packed with seasonal veggies

  • creamy and flavourful

  • aromatic and fragrant

  • easy to make

  • meal prep friendly

  • freezer friendly

  • & so SO delicious!

Tips and Tricks to making Vegan Pumpkin Curry

  • When pureeing the kabocha to make the roux, baking it will yield a more robust flavour- so if you have some extra baked kabocha use it here!

  • If you can wait, let this curry sit overnight and it tastes 1.5x better (all the flavours come out)

  • This curry will last in the fridge for 5 days and up to 3 months in the freezer

  • Here are more kakushi aji (hidden flavours) you can substitute coffee with: apples, chocolate, garlic & ketchup *NOTE: DO NOT ADD ALL IN ONE CURRY RECIPE

If you recreate this Vegan Pumpkin Curry please share it and let me know what you think by tagging me on Instagram @lisakitahara, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!



  • 1 kabocha squash (2 lbs)

  • 1 can tomatoes (400g)

  • 2 c soy milk (440 ml)

  • handful of cilantro (40g)

  • 1/2 c brewed coffee (100ml)


  • 2 ½ tbsp. fav curry blend

  • 1 tsp cinammon

  • ½ tsp cayenne

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1.5 tbsp ginger (30g), minced

  • 1 medium onion (300g)

  • 1 package mushrooms (250g)

  • 1 large carrot (150g)

  • 1 c green beans, chopped (250g)

  • 1 package of extra firm tofu, cubed

  • 1/3 c soy sauce


  1. Lightly steam 3/4 of the kabocha squash (around 700g) over the stove or in the microwave. Add kabocha, tomatoes, soy milk, cilantro and coffee into a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.

  2. Fry the garlic, ginger and spices on medium high in a large pot (3 minutes or until fragrant).

  3. Add in the onions and mushroom and sauté until the onions become translucent (around 4 minutes)

  4. Add in the firm tofu, carrots, rest of kabocha (300g) and roux into the pot. Mix well and then bring the heat down and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Stir every 5-10 minutes.

  5. Once the kabocha is soft, add in the green beans and soy sauce and mix. Serve over a bed of rice and top with lime juice and cilantro.



  • PREP TIME: 10 minutes

  • COOK TIME: 20 minutes




About Lisa

I'm Lisa, a home cook, recipe developer and founder of Okonomi Kitchen. Here, you'll find a mix of classic and modernized Japanese recipes, and creative, plant-forward meal inspiration using seasonal ingredients. I hope to share more about Japanese cuisine and culture through food and recipes.

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  1. I just made this so I could use the leftovers in yaki curry, and it was so good! There was a lot of roux, so I threw in some things that needed using up— a purple yam and a big bamboo shoot. 😋

  2. This curry made me so warm on a cold winter day! Although I would say it makes a toooooon more than 2 servings. I feel like Ill be eating curry all week now

  3. This is the first recipe by you that I have tried, and it was super yummy! ☺️ Will definitely try more of your recipes! ❤️