This week I bring you some Indian flare with this Butternut Squash Curry recipe. I try to make a meatless meal at least once a week, I think it is fun to find new ways to present vegetables to my kids. Anything I accompany with rice they’ll eat anyway. Curry and rice is a great marriage! 🙂
Indian style curry is prepared with strong spices. I personally like to use the whole spices because I love them, but you could also substitute with the grounded version of curry powder which has many of the spices blended in. When buying curry powder, read the label to find out what spices are blended in that particular brand, not all the curry powders will taste the same and needless to say that the flavor profile of your dish will also change. My favorite spice in this dish is Black Cardamom, now don’t think of the flowery sweet flavors you may already know from green cardamom. Black Cardamom pods are bigger, they have this beautiful smoky aroma that comes from the open flames used to dry the pods and it transfers to your dish while cooking.
Turmeric is the spice that gives the dish it’s beautiful color but it needs to be used lightly as it could add too much bitterness. Believe me, I learned this in the most embarrassing way while taking the Indian Cuisine class and almost ruined the pot of curry for the entire class by adding too much turmeric. Luckily our instructor was able to balance it out adding some other spices, pheww! I told you it was embarrassing! – Also used in traditional curry sauce is the curry leaf, those are hard to find, you’d have to visit a specialty store or Indian Market or you can substitute with a bay leaf. Don’t let the spices intimidate you and try your own spin on this aromatic and nourishing Butternut Squash Curry. Let’s get cooking!
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
1 Teaspoon coriander seeds
2 Black cardamom pods
1 Bay leaf
1 Cinnamon stick
1 Large sweet onion, diced
1 Clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 Medium butternut squash (about 1.5 to 2 pounds), peeled and diced (about 1/2 inch cubes)
1/2 Cup vegetable broth (or water)
1 Red bell pepper, sliced into small strips
1/4 Cup coconut milk
Salt & pepper
Cilantro leaves, for garnishing (optional)
In a large skillet heat 2 Tbsp. of coconut oil over medium heat. Test the oil by holding the cinnamon stick in the center of the skillet, the oil is ready when bubbles form around the cinnamon stick. Add the cinnamon stick, cumin & coriander seeds, cardamom pods and bay leaf. Cook the whole spices in the oil for about 2 minutes, shaking the pan a couple of times. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often until it starts to caramelized in the edges, about 8 minutes. Add the butternut squash cubes and spread into a single layer (for even cooking), pour in the vegetable stock (or water) and cover the pan, cook until tender but firm, about 10 minutes.
Uncover the pan, add the sliced red pepper, paprika, turmeric. Stir to combine. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Pour the coconut milk, increase the heat to medium high and let it cook until the liquid has reduced and is creamy, about 5 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and bay leaf before serving. Garnish with cilantro leaves if desired. Serve warm with rice. Enjoy!
Variation: If using curry powder instead of whole spices add it in the place of paprika and turmeric and skip cooking the spices in oil.