I’ve mentioned a number of times since the summer that we had some difficulty keeping up with the large amounts of tomatoes, eggplants and peppers we got from my community garden plot this year. That is, however, a problem we have every fall with a completely different vegetable: squash. Our CSA gives us a lot of squash in the early fall and by the time the last pickup happens in the second half of October our countertops are groaning under the weight of several weeks’ worth of squash of various types. And then the last share pickup is always a double share, sending another 8 lbs or so of squash home. Thanksgiving helps use some of it up as I always make a roasted squash soup. But with our smaller than usual gathering this year I needed to use up more of it even before we got to the last week of November. I made it in some of our favourite ways (including this one) and I also improvised this particular recipe over the base of one of Suvir Saran’s recipes, which I first encountered on a food forum 18 years ago and which is also in his first cookbook. His recipe has far fewer spices and is very good indeed. I immodestly think this is too. Try it and see.
- 1 small butternut squash, 2 lbs or just a little less, peeled, seeds and pulp removed, and cut into small chunks.
- 1/4 tspn hing/asafoetida
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- 1 heaped tspn freshly pounded ginger
- 1/2 tspn freshly pounded garlic
- 3/4 tspn haldi/turmeric
- The following lightly toasted, cooled and ground to a coarse powder: 2 tspns cumin, 1 tspn coriander seed, 1/2 tspn fennel seeds, 1/2 tspn methi/fenugreek seeds, a small piece of cinnamon
- 1 tspn hot chilli powder
- 1/4 tspn ground/grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tspn amchur/dried mango powder
- 1 tblspn jaggery/dark brown sugar
- 2-3 tblspns neutral oil
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a deep pan and when it shimmers add the hing.
- After about 30 seconds add the shallot and saute, stirring often till it has begun to brown.
- Add the freshly pounded ginger and garlic and saute till the raw aroma is gone.
- Add the haldi, the powdered spices, the chilli powder and the nutmeg, mix in and saute for another minute or so.
- Add the squash, jaggery, amchur and salt; stir to mix thoroughly so the squash is completely coated in the spices and keep it moving for 5 minutes or so.
- Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium low and cook till the squash is at your preferred consistency. Uncover the pan from time to time and stir to make sure nothing is scorching at the bottom.
- Serve with dal and rice or chapatis/parathas.
- You could sprinkle some roasted and powdered cumin over the finished dish. Alternatively, you could add a pinch of chaat masala.
- I like it with quite a bit of heat to balance the sweet and sour notes and also the cloying nature of the squash but how hot you make this is up to you.
- If you’re worried about cooking this “dry” on the stove-top, don’t be. Squash gives off quite a bit of water when cooked covered and as long as you uncover from time to time and give everything a good mix you’ll be fine.
- I used a shallot here because we also had some from the CSA that needed to be used up; if you’re not in that boat just go with red onion if that’s easier.
- Though I didn’t serve it at Thanksgiving, this would actually make a good side dish with roast turkey (or chicken or duck or whatever). If you’re roasting a bird for Christmas or New Year’s Eve you might think about it.