My interest was piqued by David Tanis’ New York Times article, A Warming Curry for Fall— because this accomplished chef mentioned that he’d adapted a Madhur Jaffrey recipe. I find her recipes can be challenging, so I was thrilled at a Mr. Tanis modification.
This recipe was both heavenly and easy—one of the most delicious recipes I’ve made. Plus, it truly took only about 30 minutes (not including roasting time – and you can make it without roasting the butternut squash if you have 30 minutes max).
Not only that, but the resulting dinner is a great vegetarian option—not always my forte but one I am trying to tackle—and it was filling. And as I served with brown jasmine rice, it was even a decent source of cholesterol-lowering fiber.
I read through the many comments online and decided to modify Mr. Tanis’ recipe right off the bat to add more flavor. (See the NYT article link above for the original recipe.) I’ve included mine with adaptions below. It’s very flavorful but not at all spicy – the only tricky part will be getting curry leaves (available at Indian markets and online) first. While Mr. Tanis says curry leaves are optional, they really make the dish.
My modifications were to add ground cumin, garam masala and also Maharajah Style Curry Powder By Penzeys Spices. Yes, I know that ‘curry’ is a catch-all and that many of the ingredients are listed both separately and in this curry powder. But the recipe was delicious with these additions and I love Penzey’s curry.
As for rice, I served it with Trader Joes Brown Jasmine Rice for a fiber boost.
The picture above I took while it was cooking, and my version of the recipe follows. Don’t be daunted by the number of ingredients—nearly all are just spices! And I didn’t even bother with wild mushrooms: I used sliced Baby Bellas and Shitakes … and didn’t measure them, just used 2 packs from Trader Joe’s.
It’s simple, I promise! If you like curry you will want to give this recipe a try.
Delicious, easy vegetarian curry published by David Tanis in the New York Times. Mr. Tanis adapted his recipe from a Madhur Jaffrey, and I've slightly modified further, for more flavor and cholesterol-lowering fiber.
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil or canola oil
- 10 ounces butternut or other winter squash peeled and diced in 1/2-inch cubes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 or 2 small whole green chiles such as jalapeño or serrano
- 3 medium shallots or 1 small onion finely diced. I use already-diced fresh onions and diced more finely
- ½ teaspoon black or yellow mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- Handful of fresh or frozen curry leaves
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- Pinch of cayenne
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 pound mushrooms preferably a mix of cultivated and wild, trimmed and sliced 1/8-inch thick
- ¾ cup coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons lime juice freshly squeezed
- Cilantro sprigs for garnish
- 2 cup brown jasmine rice
Cook about 2 cups of brown rice or brown jasmine rice so it will done when curry is done.
While you can follow directions for cooking the squash cubes on the stovetop, I prefer to slick with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes (then add to pan after the mushrooms.) To me, this is so easy and boosts flavor depth - you just have to time it so they are roasted before you start cooking.
If roasting squash, skip to next step. Otherwise, cook squash: In a wide skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add squash cubes in one layer. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes, letting cubes brown slightly, then flip and cook for 2 minutes more. Use a slotted spoon to lift squash out, and set aside.
- Cut a lengthwise slit in each chile to open it, but leave whole. (This allows the heat and flavor of the chile to release into the sauce without making it too spicy.)
- Add shallots or diced onion to skillet, salt lightly and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves and let sizzle for 30 seconds, then add garlic, coriander, cayenne, turmeric and chiles. Stir well and cook for 30 seconds more. (I did both of these steps for 1 minute)
- Add mushrooms to pan, season with salt and toss to coat. Continue to cook, stirring, until mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Return squash cubes to pan, stir in coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Lower heat to medium and simmer for another 5 minutes. If mixture looks dry, thin with a little water. Taste and season with salt.
Just before serving, stir in lime juice.
Serve atop high-fiber brown rice. Garnish with cilantro leaves - don't leave this out, it adds a lot of flavor.
Nutritional Data calculated using My Fitness Pal.