Japanese Squash Curry

Inspired by the fall season and a visit to Lepp Farms in Abbotsford I picked up a Kabocha squash and then tweeked a recipe I had creating this delicious curry for a meatless Monday dinner.

The first thing you need to do is prepare the Squash to be able to cut it, put the whole squash into the oven for 10 minutes at 375º. You’ll have to use mitts to handle it – be careful! Make sure to let it cool a bit before trying to cut into it. This softens the skin and makes it easier for the knife to slide through.

The next thing to do if you can’t find Japanese Curry Powder in a grocery store which I wasn’t able to do. Here is a recipe to make the Japanese Curry Powder at home.

Japanese Curry Powder

Makes about 1/4 cup

This curry powder gets its traditional deep yellow colour from the turmeric, which is touted as an excellent anti-inflammatory. It is not a hot curry; it is more textured, with layered flavour. Extra curry powder keeps well in a sealed container.

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons turmeric

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon ground fennel

Combine all spices in a small bowl and stir until uniform.

Japanese Squash Curry

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

1 Japanese Kobacha Squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

6 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more if needed

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons Japanese curry powder (recipe above)

1 cup diced onion

1 cup unpeeled coarsely grated apple

1 tablespoon chopped ginger

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

2 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)

4 cups chopped baby spinach (or kale)

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.

2, Toss cubed squash with 4 tablespoons oil. Season with salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon Japanese curry powder. Place on oiled baking sheet and roast for 15 to 18 minutes, turning once, or until squash is fork tender and tinged with gold.

3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onions to skillet and sauté for 2 minutes or until softened. Add half the grated apple, remaining curry powder, ginger and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes or until fragrant. If mixture is too dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons more oil.

4. Stir in stock a little at a time until well combined. Bring to boil, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes to thicken. Add remaining apple and cook 1 minute more. Taste and adjust seasoning.

5. Add squash to skillet and cook in sauce for 5 minutes or until squash has absorbed flavour. Stir in kale and cook for 1 minute or until wilted. Garnish with cilantro just before serving. Serve over rice.

By: Richard Wolak