Fall was my favorite time of the year in Canada. It was a lovely feeling to wake up one fine morning and witness the gorgeous colors of fall right outside my window. I get a tad bit jealous every time I see my Canadian friends posting lovely pictures of fall on social media.
Here in Texas even though he weather has become cooler much to our relief, there are hardly any visible symbols of fall. The trees are still very much green and don’t show any signs of shedding their leaves. The only tell tale sign of Fall for me are the mounds of pumpkins and all kinds of squash in grocery stores along with fake maple leaves in myriad colors.
I was tempted to pick up some butternut squash and cook it with Indian spices. This isn’t a curry in the true sense of the word since it does not have any gravy but I chose to call it so for those who are not very familiar with Indian cuisine. In traditional terms it would be called a sabzi or tarkari.
The main flavor in this sabzi comes from the tempering which consists of whole spices and a mixture of five seeds known as panch phoran .
Pumpkin (known as kaddu , kashiphal or sitaphal in hindi/urdu) works equally well for this recipe. I sometimes substitute half the butternut squash or pumpkin with parboiled cubed potatoes.
Spicy Butternut Squash Curry
2 cups butternut squash cubes
2 tbsp oil
2 bay leaves (tezpatta)
1 cinnamon (dalchini) stick
2 cloves (laung )
2 cardamoms (elaichi)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (zeera)
1/2 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds ( rai / sarson)
1/2 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
2 tomatoes, chopped
Pinch of asafoetida (hing)
3/4 tsp chilli powder or according to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tsp coriander powder (dhania)
2 tbsp yogurt, slightly beaten
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp dried mango powder (amchur) or 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 tsp sugar
Cilantro (dhaniya patti), chopped for garnish
1) Heat oil , add the bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, cumin seeds, nigella seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and fennel seeds. Sauté on a medium flame for a few seconds until the seeds begin to splutter.
2) Add the tomatoes, mix well and cook on a medium flame for about 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
3) Add the asafoetida, chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 1 minute stirring continuously.
4) Add the cubed butternut squash and mix well. Cover and cook on low flame for 15 minutes or till the squash is tender. Add some water if required.
5) Add the beaten yogurt, dried mango powder and sugar, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 1 minute, while stirring occasionally.
6) Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve hot with an Indian bread such as roti or plain boiled rice.