One of my favorite things about winter is winter squash. The fact that acorns and butternuts, kobacha, and spaghetti squash are plentiful and cheap is a wonderful thing.
Actually, wait, it’s not one of the things i like about winter, it’s the thing i like about winter. Cold weather and the sun setting at 6 PM — who can stand this? At least i have yummy squash to help me get through the cold* darkness.
The only problem being that the squash are pretty big — one of them is more than Minos and i can eat in one meal. So we chop them in half, and use each half separately.
This recipe came from the Vegetarian Times website. If you follow the link, you will notice that the recipe there sounds almost dessert-like. It seemed too sweet to me, but i thought the flavors sounded good together, so here is what i did with this.
1 cup couscous
1 cup water
1 tbsp coconut milk powder
1 tbsp ghee
3 currry leaves
5 sage leaves
1 tbsp nigella
1/2 medium red onion
1 small jalapeno
1/2 butternut squash — about 2 cups cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 granny smith, cut into cubes about 1/2 the size of the squash pieces
2 tsp of sambar (curry) powder
1 tsp of cayenne (optional)
1. Bring the cup of water to a boil and add the coconut powder. Add in the cous cous and stir, then reduce to a simmer. Cook about 10 minutes.
3. Add the nigella, onion, and jalapeno. Fry until the onion starts to turns transparent.
Word of caution
Mise en place is your friend. it means, literally, “putting in place”, and is a shorthand reminder to get all of your ingredients — including spices, ready beforehand.
If you look at the ingredients picture you will notice that it does not include all of the listed ingredients. I forgot to get down the spices. I was cooking the dish and suddenly remembered that i wanted add sambar powder, and i reached into the cabinet and grabbed the jar of red powder and sprinkled some on. Then i thought, “Wait, didn’t i tape the label from the spice bag onto the jar of sambar powder”? A quick check showed that i did, so i tasted the red powder i sprinkled. It was cayenne.
The overall effect is that this ended up being a little hotter than i had intended. Minos had to put some raita in her serving in order to be able to stand it.
So, learn from my mistake people: get all of your ingredients, including spices, ready before you start. Mise en place!
Aside from the fieriness, how was this? Excellent! The couscous had just a hint of coconut flavor without any of that greasiness that sometimes happens when you use real coconut milk.
Please note that i used chunky Israeli couscous, not the fine grained stuff. You might need a little more coconut milk powder if you are using a finer couscous.
The squash was excellent — the hint of sage and curry leaf and the cinnamon in the Sambar powder all combined wonderfully, and the sweet tartness of the apples just made it all better.
The flavor blend here was excellent
*True Confession: We live in The South, so when i say cold i mean “It gets down to close to freezing a few nights of the week.” I still hate it.