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 procuring fresh curry leaves (available at Indian markets and online: see amazon link below). While Mr. Tanis says curry leaves are optional, to me, 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. It's easy - but the fresh curry leaves are a must. If you are not familiar, they are sold in Indian markets, or see below for a link to fresh curry leaves on Amazon!
- 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 preferably reduced fat
- 2 tablespoons lime juice freshly squeezed
- fresh cilantro diced and sprigs for garnish
- 2 cup brown jasmine rice
- 1 cup baby spinach leaves optional
Cook about 2 cups of brown rice or brown jasmine rice so it will done when curry is done.
Roast the diced squash (directions in 'prep' and 'cooking' below) either earlier in the day, or 1 hour before you want to serve.
Prep ingredients to facilitate quick steps in this recipe: a) Chop cilantro and squeeze lime; set aside. b) Dice squash into relatively uniform 1/2" cubes and set aside. c) Cut a lengthwise slit in each chile to open it, but leave whole and set aside. (This allows the heat and flavor of the chile to release into the sauce without making it too spicy.) d) Measure spices into 2 small bowls (one with mustard and cumin seeds, one with all other spices) and set aside. e) Mince garlic. f) Bring curry leaves to room temperature, if frozen.
Roast the squash: Preheat oven to 425. Slick squash cubes with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them for 20-30 minutes (set them aside to add to pan after the mushrooms.) The original recipe sautes squash on cooktop but roasting is easier and boosts flavor depth - you just have to time it so they are roasted before you start cooking.
- In a wide skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. 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 about 1 minute.
To skillet, add the minced garlic, coriander, cayenne, turmeric, chiles, cumin, garam masala and curry and the slit-but-still-whole jalapeno (or serrano) chili peppers. Stir well and cook for 1 minute more.
- Add mushrooms to pan, season with salt and toss to coat. Continue to cook, stirring, until mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add squash cubes to pan, stir in coconut milk (shake can well first!) and bring to a simmer. Lower heat to medium and simmer for another 5 minutes. (If adding baby spinach for nutrition and color boost, add it after about 2-3 minutes so it wilts by time the 5 minutes of cooking squash is done.) If mixture looks dry, thin with a little water. Taste and season with salt.
If you are serving for a dinner party, you can keep curry warm in a (pre-warmed) crock pot set to warm.
Just before serving, stir in lime juice.
Serve atop high-fiber brown rice. Top with diced cilantro (unless you/guests are averse to taste) as it adds a lot of flavor. If desired, garnish with cilantro leaves.
Nutritional Data calculated using My Fitness Pal.