The squash family is an Indian cook's best friend. Squashes hold their shape in curries, they love a bit of chili, and you can usually feed a whole family using just one.
Although squash (like pumpkin) is popular in India, it's rarely roasted because the average kitchen in India does not have an oven. Roasting the squash gives it a caramelized and crispy skin, which works wonders with the tomatoes and garlic in this curry. This dish is complete with some golden garlic raita spooned over the top.
- 1 large butternut squash (around 2 1/4 pounds), unpeeled, halved, seeded, then cut into 3/4-inch thick slices
- 4 tablespoons canola oil
- Ground black pepper
- 1 1/4-inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 fresh green chili, roughly chopped
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 4-ounce can of good-quality plum tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
Preheat the oven to 400°F and line two roasting trays with foil.
Throw the squash pieces onto both the roasting trays. Trickle over 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil and season generously with salt and black pepper. Toss together and bake for 30 minutes, or until they are soft and browning, turning halfway through.
Meanwhile, put the ginger, garlic, green chili, and a pinch of salt into a mortar and pestle and bash to a smooth paste. Set aside.
Put 1 tablespoon of oil into a frying pan on a medium heat. When it's hot, fry the onion for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden, and add the ginger, garlic, and chili paste. Cook for around 2 to 3 minutes, then tip in the can of tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon.
Cook for around 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is rich and thick. Add the sugar, coriander, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and season with salt. Leave to cook for another 5 minutes, adding a little bit of water to get a good saucy consistency. Take the butternut squash out of the oven when ready and fold into the sauce. Serve with golden garlic raita and some fresh hot naan to mop it up with.
Recipes reprinted from Made in India. Copyright ©2015 by Meera Sodha. Photographs by David Loftus. Published by Flatiron Books.