I’m kicking off the new year on my blog on the lighter side with, dare I say it, a healthier than usual recipe for vegetables simmered in Indian spices. This has got nothing to do with new year’s resolutions (I don’t believe in those) or a sudden change in diet. We were at the farmers’ market last Sunday and while there were plenty of winter root vegetables around, what caught my eye was a stand with really cute looking miniature squash called honey nut squash. I’d read about in my latest Saveur edition. So, naturally, I was curious and brought some home.
Cauliflower is one of my favourite vegetables. Peter has a strong dislike for it or any other vegetable that belongs to the same family. That’s mainly because of childhood food memories associated with bland boiled to death vegetables. Since Indian curries are usually made with a lot of spices, bland vegetables smothered in a curry sauce stand a fighting chance on a child’s plate. I always loved the spicy curries my mom made with big chunks of cauliflower and potatoes. That combined with some rice and yoghurt was my idea of comfort food.
So I combined the two vegetables and threw in some greens (kale in this case) at the very end for good measure. The colour of the greens contrasts very well against the deep orange of the squash. They also provide a nice crunchy texture.
Make this to ward away winter blues without any associated guilt. And while it’s true that we’re watching what we eat after a little indulgence over the holidays, I can’t wait to start baking again and share my stories here as always.
Cauliflower, Squash & Greens Curry
Ingredients (serves 2-3)
4 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
1 bay leaf (preferably dried)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium red onion finely diced
a 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder (you can adjust this depending on how hot you’d like the dish to be)
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala
300g/11oz cauliflower roughly chopped into medium sized chunks
300g/11oz peeled and cubed honeynut or butternut squash
salt to taste
a big handful of greens of your choice (spinach, kale, chard, etc), roughly chopped
Heat the oil in a large wok or skillet over medium heat. Add the bay leaf and cumin seeds. After a minute or so, add the onions to the pan and saute them until pale and soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for another two minutes. Lower the heat and add the spices, mixing it thoroughly with the onion mixture. Cook on low heat continuously stirring for a couple of minutes. Add the cauliflower and squash and stir it around to coat in the spice mixture. Season to taste. Add a splash of cold water to the pan. You can add more water if you’d like more sauce with the vegetables. Cover with a lid and continue cooking on low heat for about 10-15 minutes. Keep checking every five minutes or so to make sure nothing’s stuck to the bottom of the pan and that the vegetables are not turning completely mushy.
Once the vegetables are tender, add the greens to the pan, cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Serve hot or warm with rice or Indian bread topped with a dollop of yoghurt. Perfect for supper on a cold evening.