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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Opo Squash, Zucchini, and Pumpkin in a light sauce

There is something about the combination of delicate almost watery Opo Squash with meaty semi-sweet pumpkin that I find irresistible. This probably stems from consuming a lot of Olan, a South Indian delicacy that is my mom's specialty.

We had harvested some zucchini and pumpkin from our home-garden and the combination of these reminded me of my mom's Olan very much, especially along with Opo Squash.

The kids don't enjoy it much - they'll take a bite to satisfy me and because we made it a rule to try the dish, grimaces and nose-wrinkling notwithstanding, every time I put something in front of them.

It is the simplicity of this dish that I find reflects the inherent qualities of the vegetables - no rich curry, no strong spices, just simple flavors. Of course, feel free to experiment and adjust/add flavors to taste, as always. Instead of pumpkin, can use any mildly sweet winter squash like butternut or acorn squash.

While similar to my Olan recipes, this recipe can me made into a thin soup with vegetables chopped up tinier, and using chicken stock instead of vegetable, if preferred. [Incidentally, looking back at my very old recipes, gosh! what terrible pictures! I must update them with better ones soon :)]

½ Opo Squash, peeled, cored, and diced
1 medium zucchini,  cored and diced
As much pumpkin  or winter squash as preferred, diced or cut into chunks
Additional vegetables: cauliflower, broccoli, Chinese long green beans (optional)
vegetable stock, enough to cook the veggies
¼ to ½ cup plain low-fat milk (for a richer, slightly different flavor, can use light coconut-milk)
spices: freshly ground black pepper, turmeric
1 Tbsp coconut oil (or any other preferred oil)

  1. Heat the coconut oil in a pan, add the turmeric, then vegetables and stock, cover and simmer till vegetables are cooked but not mushy; I like the smell and flavor of coconut oil in this dish as I use milk instead of coconut-milk to finish
  2. When water is all but absorbed and veggies are cooked, turn off heat,  stir in ground black pepper and milk, adjust flavors. The amount of milk depends on how runny we want the finished dish to be. For a soupy consistency, add more, naturally.
  3. Garnish with cilantro and spring onions if preferred and serve warm with brown basmati rice, or plain cooked quinoa, or roti; or enjoy it as-is.

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