Winter Squash and Wild Mushroom Curry

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We made this dish last week. It is rich, warming and seasonal. All the flavors meld together wonderfully and with the addition of rice makes a complete meal.

You can use whatever mushrooms you can find at the store, but the more interesting the mix of mushrooms the more interesting the flavor profile of this dish will be. Also, we used jalapeño peppers as the chilis and they become quite mild after cooking which made them easy to eat with the dish.

Give it a try sometime when you are feeling like something different for dinner. It is vegan, inexpensive and a comfort food fit for the cooler weather.


Winter Squash and Wild Mushroom Curry

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable 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

  • ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds

  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds

  • Handful of fresh or frozen curry leaves, optional

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • Pinch of cayenne

  • ½ teaspoon turmeric

  • 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

  • Cilantro sprigs, for garnish

PREPARATION:

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 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.

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. Transfer to a warm serving dish and garnish with cilantro leaves.


Michael Liss