Vegan Spooky Curry Recipe

This autumn inspired curry will quickly become a favorite tradition in your family! Spooky Curry features carrot "fingers", tomato "hearts", cauliflower "brains" and potato "eyes". When my husband worked at the local Nordstrom call center, his team would occasionally hold potlucks. I made curry a couple of times and somehow it got really famous around the company. When fall rolled around, I planned to make a couple of specially themed food items for the Halloween potluck, like pumpkin soup, pilaf and whatnot. But when my husband's co-workers found out I wasn't making curry, they practically revolted. I was exasperated (I make awesome food besides curry!), but in the end I went with curry and decided to put a festive theme on it. I came up with Spooky Curry, complete with "Spooky" Rice—i.e. regular rice flavored with like half a bottle of food dye. I found out that it takes a lot of dye to color rice. In retrospect, turmeric probably would have sufficed. The eyes were the weakest part of the curry; an idea I had that didn't quite translate to the final product. They were potatoes with part of the top scooped out and filled with tomato bits. On the other hand, I was really pleased with how the fingers looked. I used the back of paring knife (a dinner knife should work as well) and pressed until I heard a crunching sound. They were much easier to make than I had anticipated. There were too many carrots to decorate all of them, but I did make about 15-20. The curry itself was squash based, with both pumpkin puree (from a can) and a whole squash. I cut myself badly right at the start while trying to skin the squash. I guess I should have just pre-cooked it like usual instead of chopping it into small pieces and adding it to the curry.


I was on the fence as to if I should include a recipe. It's not that I'm holding back trade secrets or anything. It's more like I'm not good with writing down recipes. Below you will find a skeleton (no pun intended—or was it?) recipe that I like to refer to as "Not a Recipe" Recipe (NARR). The Spooky Curry recipe is aimed at individuals who are already familiar with basic cooking techniques. Always adjust to your tastes.

Vegan Spooky Curry

Serves 6-8
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hours, 40 minutes
Dietary Vegan
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Occasion Halloween
Region Indian
A festive, pumpkin based curry that's a hit with young and old alike, featuring potato eyeballs and baby carrot fingers.


  • Canola Oil (for frying veggies and curry)
  • 2-4 tablespoons Curry Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Mustard Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Onion (cut in half, then sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic (minced)
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes (15 oz, or use crushed)
  • 1 can Whole Tomatoes (15 oz, for hearts)
  • 2 teaspoons Ginger (minced)
  • 1 can Pumpkin Puree (15 oz)
  • 1 Squash (e.g. butternut, acorn, kabocha, etc)
  • 10-12 Baby Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 4-5 Klondike Rose or Yukon Gold Potatoes (halved, then halved again and sliced into large pieces)
  • 3/4 cups Baby Carrots (whole)
  • 1/2 Whole Cauliflower (cut into large florets)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1 pinch Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2-1 can Coconut Milk (15 oz)


A festive, pumpkin based curry that's a hit with young and old alike, featuring potato eyeballs and baby carrot fingers.

If you're not into the spooky part of the curry, you can save time by just cutting the veggies into large chunks for a fall-inspired treat!


Preparing the Veggies
Step 1
Before starting the curry, cut potatoes, onions and cauliflower.

Take the baby potatoes and make 1 divet with the top of a potato peeler for the eye socket. For the fingers, use the back of a paring knife and carefully make the finger marks by pressing into the carrots.

Carefully cut squash in half and peel skin. Remove seeds and pulp with an ice cream scoop (save for later and roast in oven for toasted squash seeds), and cut into medium sized chunks.
Making the Gravy
Step 2
In a large pan (I use a 5.5 QT stainless steel saute pan), heat the oil over low heat. Add the curry powder, mustard and cumin seeds and stir to mix. Wait for mixture to bubble. Heat for several minutes, stirring occasionally to evenly mix and avoid burning. If mixture begins to blacken, reduce heat immediately.

Increase to medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until transparent.

Add garlic, diced or crushed tomatoes, and pumpkin puree. Cook for a few more minutes.
Cooking the Curry
Step 3
Add the remaining veggies, including the whole tomatoes and ginger. Add salt and sugar.

Raise heat to medium heat and cook until the curry begins to lightly boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover.

After 45 minutes, add coconut milk and taste. Add more salt as needed.

Simmer for at least 1 hour. The longer the curry cooks, the better it will taste.

If you will be transporting the curry, transfer to a large slow cooker (~6 QT) and set on Low or High.
Vegan Spooky Curry Recipe
Spooky Rice
Step 4
While the curry cooks, make at least 4 cups of rice in your rice cooker, according to the manufacturers directions.

Once cooked and cooled, you can either use gel/liquid orange food coloring, or add a bit of paprika and turmeric for a natural color.

2 thoughts on “Vegan Spooky Curry Recipe

  1. Beth says:

    Brilliant! Love this! I’m just going to do the carrots, but I can’t wait to see people’s faces when they dig in an find a finger! 🙂

    Thanks for the fun idea.

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