Monday, November 10, 2014

Pumpkin/Butternut Squash and Coconut. The Perfect Fall Vegetable Dish.

   I love Fall, I always have. Not for me the long slow Summer nights where it's light til 9:00 o'clock. Give me early darkness, a roaring fire, and all those root vegetables. big gourds, and weird squashes. On chilly Fall nights, the neighbors dog, Smokey barks and howls at whatever's living in that massive redwood tree out back and it makes me want to put something comforting on the stove. Something that screams "The Year's Ending!!! Soon!"
   One of the best things about this time of year is pumpkins. I love them and always stock up on them, because it seems that once Halloween is past it's hard to find them. It's as though as long as you can carve a face in it it's cool to keep a pumpkin around, but after that ...forget about it. I beg to differ. Now I'm not saying that every pumpkin dish has to be made with pumpkin, because as I found out a while back not every pumpkin is good eating. Some pumpkins are not meaty or flavorful enough. If you're lucky enough to find a good one great, but this recipe also works beautifully with squash. Butternut squash to be exact. Butternut squash is actually what passes in a can for pumpkin here in the US, so even though there's a cute little pumpkin in the background of the shot above, what's chunked up in the bowl is actually butternut squash.
   This recipe is really easy to make, and while traditionally it is aSouth Indian dish called a Mathanga Thoran (pumpkin curry) it would serve very well on anyone's Thanksgiving table. So grab your squash and get cooking.

Pumpkin/Butternut Squash Coconut Curry

Here's What You Need:
2 and 1/2 cups of peeled cubed butternut squash
1/2 cup of fresh grated or dried grated unsweetened coconut
8 shallots
2 or 3 large serrano chiles, seeded and chopped
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp urad dal
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
8 curry leaves fresh or frozen
1 dried red chili
1 Tbs coconut oil

Here's What To Do:
Peel and cube the butternut squash.
Put it into a pot or kadhai.

Add in 1/4 tsp turmeric.

Add in a bit of salt for starters.

Add in about 2 cups of water. Enough to cover the squash. Bring things to a boil.

Boil the squash until it's tender. This should take about 15 minutes or so.
Meanwhile chop the shallots and chilies.

If you've got onion or chili goggles, use them.

Put the shallots, chilies and cumin seeds into a grinder.

Whirl everything into a paste.

Drain the cooked squash.

Place 1 Tbs of coconut oil in a hot skillet or kadhai.

When the oil is hot, toss in the mustard seeds and urad dal.
When the mustard seeds start top sputter, add in the curry leaves and dried red chili halves.
stir it around for a couple of seconds then add in the shallot chili paste.

Let it cook and sizzle, stirring it around, then adding the dried or fresh coconut.

Cook it for another few minutes.
Add in the cooked squash/pumpkin pieces.

Mix everything together well.
Check the dish for salt. If it needs more, add some.
When you're ready serve it up!

   Sweet, hot and savory all at once, this is a great dish for the holiday table no matter what you're celebrating. It's gluten free, vegan and vegetarian so no matter whoever you're trying to please, they're guaranteed to be happy with this one! By the way it's also make ahead and reheats well the next day without losing any quality, so there's that!  In fact like most Indian food it only benefits being left to mellow a bit, something we can't alas say about many things.

   I busted out the new kitchen Saturday night and cooked my first full on Indian dinner. What fun.
  Coming up next, Guys and Dals. 4 Guys, 3 Dals what could possibly go wrong??? Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

1 comment :

  1. I think we're kindred spirits, Kathy. I love the autumn, too, and all that goes with it, down to the warm and aroma of a roaring fire. And I love the taste of pumpkin, although as you say a good one for eating is hard to find. Lucky we have so many other winter squashes to choose from...



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