I used to call this a pumpkin curry, because I figured an orange fleshy fruit that tastes pumpkin-y was a pumpkin. I later learned that it’s actually called a kabocha squash (Japanese squash) which just sounds way more intriguing and exotic. Also, how fun is the word kabocha?
I always loved this dish which is a sauce to pour onto rice. I always assumed it was difficult to make due to the complexity of flavor, but it turns out it is one of the easiest dishes you can make, and all the flavor comes from only a few ingredients. The hardest part about this is cutting the pumpkin into large cubes (which I ask my husband to do because I am not to be trusted with a knife and uneven vegetable shapes if I want to keep all my limbs/digits intact).
Not only is this dish tasty, it is so nutritious as well! The squash is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. It has some iron, and it has less carbohydrates and calories than an equal amount of butternut squash. The coconut in this dish provides added healthy fats and helps with satiety. It’s perfect for our meal preps!
- 3-4 cups diced Kabocha squash (the nationwide Indian grocery store, Patel Brother’s, conveniently sells about a quarter of a squash rather than an entire squash. You can also buy a whole squash and cut all of it up, freezing what you don’t use). Be sure to discard the rind!
- 1/3 cup plus another 1/4 cup ground frozen grated coconut (unsweetened)
- 2-3 green chilies (depending on your spice preference)
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1-2 dried red chilis
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 onion sliced
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1-2 tbsp coconut oil (or oil of your choice)
- Salt to taste
1. Put diced pumpkin in a pot with just enough water to cover the pumpkin and boil until well cooked. Once cooked, mash the pumpkin well with the remaining water to achieve a purée consistency.
2. In a blender/magic bullet, blend 1/3 cup grated coconut with the chilies, garlic, cumin seeds, and turmeric with about 3/4 cup to 1 cup of water to make a somewhat loose paste. Pour this onto the cooked pumpkin and stir. Simmer on medium heat. Add a little water as needed to make it slightly looser to pour, not like a paste/puree.
3. In a separate small pan, create the tadka:
- Heat about 2-3 tbsp oil and splatter the mustard seeds (cover with a lid as the seeds will pop).
- Once the popping has stopped, add the dried red chili, sliced onions and remaining 1/4 cup grated coconut. Toast until coconut is lightly browned.
- Add this tadka to the pumpkin and stir.
4. You don’t need to cook any further! Add salt to taste.
Delicious over rice, or you could eat it as a soup! So comforting and yummy =)