Hurry That Curry
I think it’s safe to say I’m on a another “kick”, thanks to the cookbook, 5 Spices, 50 Dishes, that I told you about last week. I can’t help myself since the colorful photos are deliciously alluring and the recipes are proving to be fast, easy, and most importantly, reliable. So here comes another Indian dish today, and another one will be along shortly, I’m sure.
I wouldn’t have thought butternut squash to be a typical ingredient in Indian cooking since I’ve not seen it on the lunch buffets or the dinner menus of the restaurants around the city. And in fact, I couldn’t find evidence that in grows in India (although please correct me if I’m wrong since I only had Google to rely upon). However, butternut squash is a delightfully light and sweet addition that marries well with the coconut milk in this curry. Bravo for thinking outside the lines of “traditional!”
This was my last butternut squash from the Headhouse Market, which signals to me that I’m finally in the depths of winter and this blogging about locally grown produce thing is going to become more and more challenging. Fortunately I picked up some locally grown produce from farms in central Pennsylvania while I was visiting my parents for the holidays – fat round turnips, long skinny parsnips, and rosy apples. And then of course I’m planning some special theme weeks – one for soups and one for breads and perhaps one for cheese making if I can get around to gathering the supplies. So there’s no shortage of things to look forward to in 2008.
But for now, let’s get back to focusing on this warmly sensual dish with the silky butternut squash, the brightly flavored green beans, the creamy coconut curry, the crunch of the toasted almonds, and the heat of the hot pepper and mustard seeds. I also really enjoyed the colors of this dish and almost forgot it was winter for a moment, even though it’s the perfect meal to warm up on a chilly evening. In fact, I’d dare say it would make a great addition to any gathering you might be having with friends and family tomorrow if you can hurry to get the ingredients on a final dash to the market.
Speaking of hurrying to get ready, it’s time for me to run. I wish you all the best for the new year!
Butternut Squash & Green Bean Curry
Adapted from 5 Spices, 50 Dishes
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
½ c. water
Generous pinch of salt
2 c. fresh green beans, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 c. coconut milk
2 T. peanut oil
¼ t. mustard seeds
1 large hot pepper (serrano works well), finely minced
3 T. slivered almonds
In a medium saucepan, place squash cubes, water and salt. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and cover to steam squash until it is fork tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove squash from saucepan. Place green beans in the saucepan and add water if necessary. Steam over medium heat for 5 minutes until tender.
Return squash to the saucepan with the green beans. Do not drain water off vegetables. Add coconut milk and another pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and quickly lower heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 6-8 minutes until thickened. Do not stir the saucepan as squash will break apart; instead shake the saucepan occasionally.
Heat the oil in a small skillet or saucepan until it begins to smoke. Add the mustard seeds, covering the pan while the seeds sputter. Once sputtering stops, add the minced hot pepper and almonds. Swirl the pan over medium heat until the almonds are lightly toasted/browned.
Transfer the vegetables to a serving dish. Pour oil over the vegetables and serve immediately with rice or quinoa. Goes well with chicken or soy chicken.