Dana Treat – Treat Yourself

Butternut Squash Curry

Posted December 28, 2010

Confession.  I made this curry quite a while ago.  Like a few months ago.  Aside from the epic Christmas Eve meal last week and a casual dinner I will do for my in-laws this coming Thursday, I have not been making a lot of dinners.  We have had lots of parties and nights out alternated with lots of sickness.  I’ve been baking like crazy (I still have three coffee cakes I need to tell you about), but not much that is healthy or savory.

I haven’t mentioned this in a while, but I love Indian food.  And there really is no good Indian food in Seattle.  We never even try anymore because inevitably both of us get sick from the restaurants where we go.  I hear there are a couple of good spots across the lake, but after 6½ years of commuting across a bridge for work, Randy is not all that eager to head East for a night out.  Consequently, when we want Indian food, I make it.  I have a few cookbooks that I adore but for this meal, I decided to wing it.

I used fresh curry leaves in this dish which are not all that easy to find.  If you live in Seattle, sometimes Uwajimaya has them and otherwise, there is a tiny Indian grocer/VHS tape rental place on the Ave right near Ravenna.  He has very little fresh food, but has had curry leaves whenever I have asked for them.  They impart a difficult to describe flavor to this and all Indian dishes but do not fret if you can’t find them.  Just make it anyway.  Our month of gluttony is going to continue all the way to the last minutes of the 31st, but you can bet I’m making this again come January.  Tasty, healthy, easy.

Butternut Squash and Cashew Curry
Dana Treat Original
Serves 4

I served this dish with basmati rice and a flat bread that I made but didn’t like much.  If you are looking to make your own, I can highly recommend this recipe.

Vegetable oil
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt
½ tsp. black mustard seeds
1 large red onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
10 fresh curry leaves (optional)
2 small dried chiles (optional)
¾ cup unsalted roasted cashews
1 tsp. ground tumeric
½ tsp. ground cumin
1 14-ounce can lite coconut milk
½ cup water
12 ounces extra firm tofu, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
Juice of 1 lime

Place a large skillet over medium heat.  Add just enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom and then add the squash and a large pinch of salt.  Cook until golden, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  Don’t worry if it sticks slightly to the pan, you will be able to scrape up those bits after you add the liquid.  Transfer the squash to a bowl and set aside.

Add a bit more oil to the skillet and then add the mustard seeds.  Once they start to pop, in about 1 minute, add the onions, garlic, ginger, chiles, and curry leaves.  Stir until the popping slows down.  Cook until the onions are golden, about 5 minutes.  Add the cashews, tumeric, and cumin; stir-fry 1 minute.  Add the coconut milk, tofu, and water and increase the heat to medium-high.  Boil until thickened, about 2 minutes.  Return the squash to the pan and reduce the heat to medium.  Simmer until the squash is very tender, about 4 minutes.  Stir in the cilantro and lime juice.  Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.

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