Most of the ingredients are readily available in urban areas – and you should definitely try getting fresh ingredients. Some of you may already have the necessary ingredients in your kitchens, as the dish is made out of the most used products. The next time you’ve got a big squash sitting on your counter staring you in the face, go ahead and cook up this curry. Serve it over brown basmati rice along with sautéed greens or cabbage and you’ve got a complete and healthy meal.
I have to give credit to James Oseland and his wonderful book, Cradle of Flavor, and to the resourcefulness and inspiration the Kitchen website has had to ingeniously create this unique dish.
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 medium (roughly 2 1/2 pound) butternut squash
3 tablespoons cooking oil, such as grapeseed or peanut oil
1 large shallot, peeled and sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1/2-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 jalapeño chile, chopped (seeds optional, for extra heat)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional, for extra heat)
2 small, dried red chilies (optional, for extra heat)
1 Balinese Long Pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
Cilantro, for garnish
Cooked rice, to serve
In a small, dry skillet over medium heat, toast the coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds. Once cool, grind the toasted spices in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.
Meanwhile, peel and dice the squash into bite-sized pieces. You should have about 5-6 cups of squash.
Warm the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic, and ginger. Cook it stirring, until the shallots are soft and translucent. Add the chilly, turmeric, cayenne (if using), small dried red chilies (if using), Balinese Long Pepper (if using), and the ground toasted spices. Stir to release fragrance, cooking for 2-3 minutes.
Add the squash, tamarind paste, coconut milk, water, 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. If you want an extra-thick and creamy curry, puree a cup or two of the squash with an immersion blender and mix it back into the curry.
Garnish each plate with sprigs of cilantro and serve with cooked rice. Enjoy!