Kale Curry Biryani, stuffed and roasted in a Pumpkin


Kale Curry Biryani is a stunning Thanksgiving vegetarian centerpiece using all the bounty of fall, presented roasted in a sugar pumpkin.

Being a vegetarian always presents a challenge during Thanksgiving. I wanted to create a beautiful main course, that shines above the other scrumptious dishes that laden the table. Thanksgiving is a non-religious holiday in the United States, where we give thanks to natures bounty and for everything we care and love. We celebrate it by having a grand feast, sharing it with friends and family.

Kale Biryani

So your centerpiece has to be absolutely spectacular and include the season’s produce.  I love bringing the colors of fall to my table. The fading greens, the sparkling oranges, reds, and yellows, so many colors to choose from. The season also brings succulent pumpkins, gourds, squashes and plenty of roots vegetables in various forms and sizes.

The Kale Curry Biryani, stuffed and roasted in a Pumpkin, is time-consuming, as the main dish for Thanksgiving should be but a joy to make. And definitely, a joy to eat. You will get compliments on this dish and your guests will groan from stuffing themselves with it.

Make my Fennel, Escarole, Persimmon Salad, Cashew-Butter Vinaigrette as one of the sides

Kale Curry Biryani, stuffed and roasted in a Pumpkin

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Kale Curry Biryani is a stunning Thanksgiving vegetarian centerpiece using all the bounty of fall, presented roasted in a sugar pumpkin.


    For the Kale Curry
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) Vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Cumin seeds
  • 2 yellow Onions, jullienned
  • 1/2 cup fresh Curry leaves
  • 1 Green Chili, slit in the middle
  • 2 tablespoons Garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Ginger, minced
  • 2 bunches Kale, cut into thick strips
  • 2 cups Spinach, washed and cut into thick strips
  • 2 cups Carrots, cut into 1/4” cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Salt, plus more as needed
  • Freshly Ground Spices
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne (red chili powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground Cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated Nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 3g/1 teaspoon freshly ground Cardamom
  • For the Rice
  • 1 Tablespoon cold Butter
  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup Toovar Dal
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Cups thick coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoons salt
  • For Assembly
  • 1 Large Sugar Pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Cranberries
  • 3 Tablespoons Pistachios
  • 15 whole garlic pods
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Saffron


  1. For the Kale Curry
  2. Heat oil in large sauce pan until hot. Add onions, curry leaves to oil and stir frequently to soften onions.
  3. When onions are soft and translucent add garlic, ginger and green chili. Season with a few pinches salt and continue stirring.
  4. The onions will start to brown and slightly stick to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add ground spices, kale, spinach and carrots. Season with salt.
  6. When the greens begin to wilt add 2 cups water. Bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until carrots are fully cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  7. For the Rice
  8. Melt butter in a skillet, add basmati rice and toovar dal. Roast the rice on low heat for 3 minutes.
  9. Mix rice with water and all other ingredients. Bring to a boil on high heat. When water reaches the level of the rice, reduce heat to very low and cover for 15 minutes. Remove lid and fluff rice. (You can also cook in a pressure cooker according to directions by the manufacturer).
  10. Assembly
  11. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line two quarter sheet pans with parchment paper. Season the garlic oil, and salt.Transfer to the sheet tray in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 15 to 17 minutes till they are golden brown. Transfer to separate jars and reserve.
  12. Cut the top off the pumpkin just like you would if you were making a jack-o-lantern. Scoop out seeds and discard. Season the interior with salt and set aside.
  13. Reserve some roasted garlic, cranberries and pistachios for garnish.
  14. Divide the Kale Curry and Rice into 4 portions each. Place one portion of Kale Curry at the bottom of the Pumpkin. Top with a portion of roasted garlic, cranberries and pistachios.
  15. Layer in a portion of Rice. Sprinkle a few strands of Saffron. Repeat with Kale Curry and Rice. Depending on the depth of your pumpkin you can assemble anywhere from 1-4 layers of Kale Curry and Rice. Cover with the Pumpkin top.
  16. Roast in 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for 20-30 minutes. Check doneness of pumpkin by piercing the side with a small knife. Let rest out of oven for 10-15 minutes. Slide pumpkin onto serving tray and garnish the top with the reserved roasted garlic, cranberries and pistachios.
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