Saturday, March 4, 2017

Red Pumpkin Is Not A Mid 80's Spy Movie, But It's Tasty, and Vegan.

   
   Stuff has been crazy mad around here lately between writing and cooking.  Most of what I've been cooking I've not been able to publish here yet because it's for the CocoaPlanet Modern French Cafe here in Sonoma, but I have managed to get back to some home focused Indian dishes...thus, the Red Pumpkin.
    
   Now, I happen to like pumpkin in any form but to be honest pumpkin isn't always available, and even when it is, all pumpkins are not created culinarilly equal.  I've learned this the hard way several times, and so when I cook "pumpkin" many times I reach for the trusty butternut squash. Every year I grow a LOT of butternut squash. I store it in a cold room in the garage and then finally cube, vacuum seal and freeze it for future use. I am never without butternut squash. So when looking at my vast array of squashes, I turned to one of  the Grande Dames of Indian cuisine the late great Tarla Dalal who has an amazing and very simple recipe for Maharashtiran  style red pumpkin.


   I have to admit, besides being able to use one of my favorite vegetables I love the name Red Pumpkin even if I don't actually have one...it just reminds me of the cheesy Red Sonja movie from the 80s.



Which reminds me of the time I found myself seated on a couch at a producer's house party eating Mexican BBQ and talking to a perfectly normal sort of person who turned out to have been Red Sonja. Go figure. Seems like there was a lot of "Red" themed movies back then... Red Dawn, Red Heat...you get the drift. What's that got to do with Pumpkin? Nothing... just background. So without further ado here's... red pumpkin/butternut squash easy, simple, totally vegan, and gluten free.


Maharashtiran  Style Red Pumpkin/Butternut Squash


Here's What You Need:
3 cups of cubed butternut squash
2 Tbs vegetable oil (I always use coconut oil)
6 curry leaves (if you don't have them just omit as there's no real substitute)
1/2 tsp brown mustard seed
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp chopped shallot
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp kashmiri chili
1/2 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro

Here's What To Do:
Get your spices together.


 Chop the shallot.


Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet or kadhai.


When the oil is hot add in the mustard, curry leaves, and cumin seeds.


When the mustard seeds start to pop and cumin seeds start to toast  (this happens fast so be prepared) add in the shallot.
Saute for about 30 seconds.


Add the squash cubes...


...turmeric, kashmiri chili powder, garam masala and salt.


Add in  1/2 cup of water.


Stir everything together well, and put a lid on things.


Let everything cook for about 12 minutes.


Check the vegetable every now and then to make sure nothing is sticking or burning.
When it's cooked through, serve it up garnished with the chopped cilantro.


All you need with this for a perfect lunch is some spiced Basmati rice and a roti or two and you are golden! All it takes is about 30 minutes from start to finish and that in my opinion makes it the perfect working weekday meal.


Coming up next...more vegetables of course and there always has to be something sweet. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori . Stay tuned...no flipping!

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