This curry tastes fantastic, but its texture makes it really unique. The curry contains three types of squash that I would never normally put together- butternut squash, zucchini, and…cucumber! I know it sounds crazy to eat cucumber in a hot dish, but once the cucumber warms up and cooks down, it’s nearly unrecognizable. It transforms into a melty binder that holds the rest of the vegetables together, making them easy to scoop up with a piece of naan. You’ll want to cook more cucumber after this. And because this curry brings together summer and winter produce, it’s the perfect transitional meal to keep you warm as the days grow cooler.
To make it, begin by cutting 1 pound of butternut squash into 1-inch cubes. Then, cut an equal volume amount of yukon gold potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Because butternut squash tends to be heavier than potatoes, you’ll probably need about 3/4 of a pound of potatoes.
In at least a 6 quart pot, melt 3 tablespoons of ghee. Ghee is clarified butter (buy ghee, make it by melting butter and scooping out the milk solids, or just use regular butter). Then, add in 6 cardamom pods, 6 cloves, 2 bay leaves, 1 halved cinnamon stick, and 2 halved serrano chiles. I used 2 jalapeños because I didn’t feel like schlepping to Whole Foods to buy 20 cents worth of serranos.
Once the spices become fragrant, add in the butternut squash and potatoes. Stir them occasionally over medium-high heat, letting them cook for 8-10 minutes until they pick up some color and begin to soften.
While the first round of vegetables cook, cut 2 medium-sized zucchini and 1 English cucumber into 1-inch pieces.
Once the squash and potatoes are softened, add the zucchini and cucumber into the pot, along with 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir them around, and allow them to cook for 4-6 minutes until they begin to soften as well. Then, cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium, and allow the vegetables to cook for about 15 minutes until they are very tender and easily pierced with a fork.
Then, remove the lid from the pot, and add in 1 tablespoon of additional ghee, 1/2 cup of grated fresh coconut, and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Stir everything together, taste, and season with additional salt as needed. Serve the vegetables with crisped naan for scooping. To make a non-vegetarian meal, add some large shrimp into the covered pot about 5 minutes before the vegetables are done cooking. Once the shrimp are cooked, you can remove them, proceed with the recipe, and then add them atop the vegetables before serving.
This recipe is adapted from Saveur magazine.
- Ghee- 4 tablespoons
- Butternut squash- 1 pound
- Yukon gold potatoes- ~3/4 pound
- Cardamom pods- 6
- Whole cloves- 6
- Serrano chilis- 2
- Cinnamon- 1 stick
- Bay leaves- 2
- Zucchini- 2, medium
- English cucumber- 1
- Grated fresh coconut- 1/2 cup
- Sugar- 1 teaspoon