Maybe I was just looking for an excuse to use my new mortar and pestle, or maybe I saw a recipe that combined two of my favorite things (butternut squash and curry), but whatever the reason, I decided to make this for dinner tonight and I have no regrets. It's the first time I've ever made curry completely from scratch before (I've always used premade curry powder before), and it was much easier than I thought!
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 Tablespoon tamarind pulp
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 3 Tablespoons mild, high temperature cooking oil, such as safflower or peanut oil
- 1 large shallot, peeled and sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 2 ¼ inch thick coins of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 jalapeño chile, chopped with seeds
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- 2 small, dried red chiles
- 1 Balinese Long Pepper (optional)
- 1 14 oz. can coconut milk
- ½ can water
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- Cilantro for garnish
- In a small, dry skillet, over medium heat, toast the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds. Set aside to cool.
- Soak the tamarind pulp in 2-3 tablespoons of hot water.
- Meanwhile, peel and cut the squash into bite-sized chunks. Set aside about 5-6 cups of squash cubes, saving any remaining squash for another use.
- In a spice grinder, or with a mortar and pestle, grind the toasted spices. Break up the tamarind pulp in the water with your fingertips, discarding any fibrous chunks or seeds.
- In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, over medium heat, warm the oil. Add shallot, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until soft and wilted.
- Add Jalapeño chile, turmeric, cayenne, ground spices, small dried red chiles and Balinese Long Pepper (if using). Stir to release fragrance, cooking for 2-3 minutes.
- Add squash, coconut milk, water, tamarind paste and salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for about 45 minutes, until squash is tender and just beginning to break down. The squash will thicken the curry as it cooks down. Garnish each serving with sprigs of cilantro.
I left out the cilantro since neither of us particularly likes it. I used half of a Balinese long pepper, and while I initially thought the curry was going to be a little too spicy, it turned out not too spicy at all. I'll probably use the whole pepper next time.