Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pea-Nutty Squash, A Cheap and Easy Side Dish

    Why oh why is zucchini always the cheapest vegetable out there? If it's not cheap in the  farmers market, it turns up in piles every summer, dropped on the doorstep like some abandoned hero in a Charles Dickens novel by neighbors with too much bounty. It always seems to be there. That's why if I'm looking for something I can squeeze onto a dinner menu fast (if I'm not doing one of my sneaky cheap cabbage dishes), it's gonna be squash, you betcha.
   This recipe was originally designed to be made with chayote squash, but frankly when I was at the market last time, they wanted to much for them so I decided to go with cheaper zucchini and yellow crook necked squash. At 99 cents a pound it was a real no brainer.
   Another thing I love about this recipe is that it contains ground peanuts, or as I cal it peanut powder which in my twisted imagination turns every dish into the circus. Now I don't like circuses (never have) except the Cirque de Soleil which is not really a circus because it has no animals and a branch in Vegas. But I love peanuts and they are just the crunchy topper that makes anyone who's anti-zucchini forget what they're eating.

Squash With Peanuts

So here's how to do my adaptation of this dish:
   Slice and halve:
1/2  lb of zucchini
1/2 lb of yellow crooked neck squash
Set them aside.
In a skillet or kadhai heat 2 Tbs of vegetable oil. When the oil is hot toss in:
 1 tsp of brown mustard seeds
 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
When the seeds start to turn color and pop add in:
 12 curry leaves (found at many Asian or Indian markets)
 1 cup of onion finely chopped
 1 crushed shallot
 2 serrano chilies slit down the middle
Stir it all around and cook it for about 4 or 5 minutes
Now toss in your squash and 1/2 tsp of garam masala
Stir it all around for about 2 minutes then add:
 1/4 cup of water
 2 Tbs of grated fresh or dried coconut

1 tsp of salt.
 Bring it all to a boil then slap a lid on it, turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes or so until the squash is tender.
 Once it's all cooked and ready to serve it's time for the circus. Sprinkle the top with
  2 Tbs of ground up roasted peanuts.
    So there it is, painless, perfect and fast squash. Easy, tasty, making the most of what's always out there and above all cheap in a pinch.
   Coming up next, tricks with POMWonderful and getting ready for my birthday, which is on Saturday. Among the fun, I'm going to Iron Chef Morimoto's restaurant. There will  lots partying over the next several days and since I like to turn every birthday into the equivalent of a week long Indian wedding I'll also be menu planning for next weekends' Indian Birthday Buffet! Follow along on Twitter @kathygori


  1. That's a really good question - why IS zucchini so abundant? Love these flavors especially the peanuts (and I agree with you about Cirque du Soleil!)

  2. Belinda@zomppa,
    I know, I wish I had zucchinis' genes.

  3. A dish after my own heart- I love to garnish with peanut too - Love it's simplicity but i am sure it was very rich in taste :)

  4. Love your the veggies and spices. Happy Birthday. My daughters birthday is tomorrow:)
    I would love to go to Morimoto's restaurant,what a wonderful experience:)
    Did you ever visit Veggie Grill?

  5. Now this is diffinitely one I would surely love! looks awesome Kathy!



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