Do you have a certain vegetable that you never know what to do with? Mine is squash. While I love their knobby skin and their bright autumn colours, they’ll spend weeks sitting on my kitchen counter. They remind me of the seasonal table centrepiece of my youth; pretty but inedible. Every year I do my best to work a few into my meals, this year has been no exception. So far I’ve eaten a Curried Pumpkin Soup, some Chickpea and Pumpkin Fritters, Chocolate and Pumpkin Cupcakes and a Pecan Pumpkin Cake that I haven’t yet, but plan to, share with you. Still the squashes keep on coming. Last week I received two delicata squash in my farmers market box; this week I was given an acorn squash. All three sit together on my kitchen counter, providing surprisingly little inspiration.
You may get the feeling that I don’t like squash. On the contrary, I quite enjoy it. It’s just that I have to work a little harder to feel enthusiastic about cooking it.
It is a girlfriend of mine whom I must thank for this recipe. Thanks, Sally! The coconut, squash and tamarind all blend together to create a rich, thick curry. The chunks of ginger and spicy chillies worked their magic and warmed me in no time. Adjust the chilli’s according to your own tolerance. I like it hot.
Now for those two delicata squash sitting on my counter. If you have any ideas about what I should do with them, let me know!
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
- 1 medium acorn squash
- 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 1 large onion, minced
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 jalapeño chile, chopped with seeds
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- 2 small, dried red chilies
- 1 14 oz. can coconut milk
- ½ can water
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- Cilantro for garnish
- In a small, dry skillet, over medium heat, toast the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds. Set aside to cool.
- Soak the tamarind pulp in 2-3 tablespoons of hot water.
- Meanwhile, peel and cut the squash into bite-sized chunks. Set aside about 5-6 cups of squash cubes, saving any remaining squash for another use.
- In a spice grinder, or with a mortar and pestle, grind the toasted spices. Break up the tamarind pulp in the water with your fingertips, discarding any fibrous chunks or seeds.
- In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, over medium heat, warm the oil. Add shallot, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until soft and wilted. Add Jalapeño chile, turmeric, cayenne, small dried red chiles and toasted spices. Stir to release fragrance, cooking for 2-3 minutes.
- Add squash, coconut milk, water, tamarind paste and salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for about 45 minutes, until squash is tender and just beginning to break down. The squash will thicken the curry as it cooks down.
- Garnish each serving with sprigs of cilantro.
Adapted from The Kitchn