Autumn is my favourite time of year. Not only because I get to snuggle up in coats and scarves, but also to cook loads of seasonal dishes. I love butternut squash with everything; even it’s orangey-yellow colour reminds me of the autumn leaves falling from the trees. This recipe is for a home-made curry. It is warm, with plenty of depth from the spices, especially the cumin, which I don’t use often. I used whole or seed spices whenever I could and crushed them with the salt and garlic just because I happened to have them in my pantry. Of course, feel free to replace them with powder. Some say that it’s not the same, and although I believe that whole spices in general taste better (because they seem to stay fresher for longer in proper storage), I use powder all the time. The more you use your spices the more you replace them, so the fresher they will be for your cooking. Remember that you can use pumpkin and even sweet potato instead and if you want this to be a vegetarian dish all you have to do is to use vegetable stock. I prefer to use chicken stock here but please use whatever you want. Serves 4-6. I know this is quite a long list of ingredients but I love this curry and thought you might like to try it. You will need:
- 900g butternut squash, peeled and cubed (approx. 1)
- 250g carrots, peeled and cubed same size as the squash (approx. 2)
- 250g potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 white onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
- 2 teaspoon peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons course salt*
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil (not extra virgin)
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 400g tin polpa di pomodoro**
- 1 to 2 teaspoons chilli flakes, to taste
- 1 large tin of coconut milk (approx. 400g)
- Fresh coriander for garnish and freshness (optional)
- Rice and naan bread to serve
Before you start: crush the garlic, cardamom seeds, peppercorns, salt and coriander seeds in a bowl with a little drizzle of olive oil and mix well. Although I’m not a fan of too much salt, here you do need this because of the sweetness of the vegetables and the coconut milk which you will add later. If you think you will need less, then use just a teaspoon and add salt later during your final tasting just before you serve.*
- In a large shallow pan heat the olive oil and add the onion. When this is slightly softened add the vegetables and the crushed spice mixture. Stir well. Cook for around 5 to 10 minutes and add the stock.
- When the stock comes to a boil, turn the heat down and leave to simmer for around 30 minutes until the vegetables are completely cooked (though still whole and not a mush) and the stock has been slightly reduced. Add the tomatoes. (You could throw in some fresh cherry tomatoes cut in half.)**
- At this stage add the chilli flakes or chilli powder, mix and taste the curry. Pour in the coconut milk and taste it again. Don’t let the curry come to a boil again. You just need the coconut milk to heat through. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander and serve immediately with rice and naan.
I won’t say that this is better than the stuff you get in jars at the store. I use them for convenience myself when I need to cook something really fast. But something made from scratch is so much more satisfying when I have the time. So, take your time, enjoy and tell me what you think.
Also I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, especially to my American friends. I’ll bring out the cranberry sauce just for you.