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This acorn squash curry is a feel-good fall and winter dinner. Creamy coconut, tender acorn squash, and tangy tamarind blend together harmoniously with zesty ginger and warming spices to create this satisfying, soul-warming dish.
For a versatile side dish with acorn squash, try this roasted acorn squash recipe.
Squash encapsulates the coziness of fall dinners. This recipe adds the velvety warmth of curry, resulting in a simple one-pot meal that warms you to your bones! It's savory, with a hint of natural sweetness, lightly spiced, then simmered down with the creaminess of coconut milk.
Gather these ingredients:
- Acorn squash: Adds a rich, nutty sweetness.
- Coconut milk: The creamy base of the curry.
- Avocado oil: To sauté the onions.
- Tamarind pulp: Adds a tangy and slightly sweet flavor.
- Onion: Mince and sauté for a base to absorb the spices, ginger, and garlic.
- Aromatics: Fresh ginger and garlic add warmth and depth of flavor.
- Spices: Ground coriander, turmeric, cumin, fennel, and cayenne provide a well-balanced flavor profile.
- Stock or water: Helps to thin the curry to the desired consistency. Use vegetable broth for additional flavor.
- Sea salt: Enhance other flavors.
- Optional garnishes: Opt to add cilantro, lime, chilis, cayenne, or pumpkin seeds as garnishes.
How to make acorn squash curry
With these simple instructions, you'll have this warming curried acorn squash recipe ready in a total time of under 30 minutes:
- Prepare tamarind and onions: Start the recipe by loosening two tablespoons of tamarind pulp by mixing it with a little hot water. When it's soft, remove the seeds. While you're waiting for the pulp to loosen, you can start sauteing the onions.
- Infuse with aromatics and spices: When the onions are soft, add in ginger and garlic and cook for one minute. Then, introduce the spices, toasting them for another minute.
- Simmer the curry: Pop in the acorn squash, coconut milk, stock or water, and the soaked tamarind with a teaspoon of sea salt. Stir it together and bring it to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer until the squash softens, which should take around 20 minutes.
- Thicken and serve: Mash a little of the squash with a fork or wooden spoon to thicken the curry. Serve alongside rice with your desired toppings and savor the warm bowl of delicious curry!
What is tamarind pulp?
Tamarind is a fruit that originated in Madagascar and has since spread to other parts of the world. The pulp is found in the pods of the fruit and has a sweet and tangy flavor. Depending on which tamarind you buy, you will find some have lots of seeds and others none at all. Many supermarkets carry it in the ethnic foods or spice sections. Otherwise, check Asian grocery stores, health food stores, or purchase it online.
If you're in a pinch, a squeeze of lime juice can add some tang, but does have a distinctly different flavor.
Here are some suggestions to customize your curry:
- Dried fruits: A handful of raisins or dried apricots add natural sweetness.
- Curry base: Make it extra creamy by using coconut cream instead of coconut milk, or spoon in some nut butter to enhance the richness with a nutty undertone. Both almond or cashew butter work well.
- Additional vegetables: Bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, or spinach all blend in to this recipe.
- Spice blends: Adjust the spices as per your preferences, or experiment with other flavors – A touch of garam masala or curry powder add warmth.
- Protein: Marinate cubed tofu before adding it to the curry or cut cooked chicken to bite sized-pieces. Roasted chickpeas or cooked lentils also complement the recipe beautifully.
- To skin, or not to skin: The skin of acorn squash becomes soft when cooked, so it is not necessary to peel the acorn squash prior to cooking. It becomes tender enough to be eaten and adds a different texture to the rest of the squash. Plus, it is packed with nutrients. If you don't love the texture and taste and your personal preference is to omit it, simply peel before cooking.
- Winter squash: Although this recipe is delicious with acorn squash, you could try another, such as pumpkin or butternut squash. Just be aware that cooking times may vary depending on the density of the squash.
How to pick a ripe acorn squash
When kept at the correct temperature, acorn squash can last for weeks. To pick a good acorn squash, follow these tips:
- Firmness: Gently press down on the acorn squash to check that it is firm and there are no soft spots. A mushy squash will be over-ripe.
- Color: Look for a dark green, deep orange, or combination of the colors.
- Skin: Blemishes, cuts, or cracks are often a sign of damage or disease. Ensure the skin is also matte rather than glossy, as a glossy sheen indicates it's been treated with preservatives.
- Weight: Lift the squash to feel its weight – heavier squash have better chances of having more flesh, whereas lighter squash can have more membrane.
What to serve with acorn squash curry
For dessert, a hint of citrus can cut through the richness of the curry – try this delicious homemade coconut lemon ice cream or lemon lavender cake. Or, contrast the spice of the curry with something creamy and indulgent like this chocolate souffle or chocolate lava cake with salted caramel.
How do I make this dish dairy-free, vegan, or gluten-free?
You don't have to change anything, it already is! Just be sure to double-check any product labels as some brands may contain additives.
Can I roast the squash seeds?
Yes! Here is a recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds that you can follow with the squash seeds – you can then use them as a topping on the curry or save them for later. Simply remove them from the membrane, toss them with a little oil and sea salt, and roast in your oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15-20 minutes.
How do I store leftovers?
Keep leftovers in an air-tight container and store in the fridge for 3-4 days. Bring to a gentle simmer to reheat – be careful not to boil the curry as it will reduce and thicken.
- 2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 medium onion (minced)
- 2 inch piece of ginger (minced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon EACH: turmeric, cumin, fennel and cayenne
- 1 medium acorn squash (about 2 ½ lb cubed (see notes))
- 14 ounce can of coconut milk
- 2 cups stock or water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Optional garnishes: cilantro, lime, chilis, a sprinkle of cayenne, pumpkin seeds (bonus points if you roast the acorn squash seeds!)
- Place the tamarind pulp in a small bowl and pour in about a ¼ cup of hot tap water. Squish it around with your fingers to loosen the tamarind, then set it aside while you cook the onions. When it is soft, remove all of the seeds. (see notes)2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the coriander, turmeric, cumin, fennel, and cayenne and let them toast for 1 minute.1 tablespoon avocado oil, 1 medium onion, 2 inch piece of ginger, 3 cloves garlic, 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1 teaspoon EACH: turmeric, cumin, fennel and cayenne
- Add the acorn squash, coconut milk, stock or water, the soaked tamarind, and the sea salt to the pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer gently until the squash is soft, about 20 minutes.1 medium acorn squash, 14 ounce can of coconut milk, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 2 cups stock or water
- Mash a little of the squash with a fork or wooden spoon to thicken the curry. Serve with rice or cauliflower rice and any or all of the toppings.Optional garnishes: cilantro, lime, chilis, a sprinkle of cayenne, pumpkin seeds (bonus points if you roast the acorn squash seeds!)
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.