This has been a great couple of weeks for festivities. Diwali, Halloween, Day of the Dead last week, and Guy Fawkes coming up. It certainly takes the bite out of the impending Winter!
I always like to celebrate anything like this with food if I can, hey, I don’t need an excuse I know, even if it’s just for me, or, better again with friends. Last week was busy but I did sneak in a dish that would in some way cover Diwali and Halloween, well, kind of.
Diwali being a Hindu festival is all about vegetarian food, particularly curry, snacks and sweets. As for Halloween, well, Halloween is about spooks and scary things, but also pumpkins, so I thought, why not make a veggie curry with pumpkin in? Or, in this case, butternut squash.
I had an ulterior motive, I felt I needed a few veggie days, or veggie meals at least. I usually have quite a balanced diet but lately I’ve been buying lunch out alot more than usual, and as I work so near to delicious Brindisa, my diet has been leaning heavily on the meat side. So, beans, veg, tomato and coconut seemed like a good alternative to a chorizo stew!
It’s very easy and very light. I made this on a weekday evening and it was absolutely manageable. The measurements are loose as always, feel free to experiment, it’s more about the spices and the flavours in the sauce. I used a small butternut squash about 6-8 inches high. The spice blend is very basic. I just used what I had in my cupboard. It works, though!
This will serve 4. I served it with steamed basmati rice. It keeps well, indeed like most tomato based dishes, tastes better the next day.
1 butternut squash, 6-8 inches high, peeled and diced with seeds scooped out
200g spinach, washed and excess water squeezed out, chopped
1 tin chickpeas
1 tin tomatoes
1 tin coconut milk
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped. More if you like it very hot!
thumb size amount of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
A handful of chopped fresh coriander
Half a lemon
1 tbsp cumin seed
1 tbsp coriander seed
1/2 tbsp turmeric
8 black peppercorns
Grind the spices in a pestle & mortar.
Fry the onion until translucent over a medium heat in some oil (sunflower or groundnut are my choices).
Add the garlic, ginger and chilli for a minute or so.
Add the spices for a minute or so, you’ll start to smell them as they temper.
Add the butternut squash and coat in the ingredients in the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the tomatoes and coconut milk, and cook for 10-15 minutes until the squash is cooked and you can push a fork through it.
Drain the chickpeas and add to the sauce. Also add the spinach.
When the spinach is wilted and the chickpeas are warmed through, add the coriander and a squeeze of lemon juice. The lemon juice lifts the flavour nicely, taste as you go.
Salt to taste and serve with rice and/or flatbreads.