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Friday, September 18, 2015

Caribbean Squash Coconut Cumin Koottu

Caribbean Squash Coconut Cumin Koottu

There are days when I barely make it home from work - not just the traffic, but the killing headache and associated nausea makes it all the more challenging to get home safely. Focused on deep breathing during the commute, all I can think of is getting home, hugging an ice pack and curling up on the sofa...

And on such days, just to make it fun for the kids, they get cereal or waffles or pancake puffs or something topsy-turvy for dinner - something that Papa can easily handle after his longer day at work.

I saw this West Indies/Caribbean Squash at the local market - it didn't have a specific name, so, not sure what it is called... Its taste and flesh reminded me of large sections of Matthanga, which along with Elavan made the delicious Olan, the best version, of course, being my mom's. I've always had a soft spot for Matthanga, it has a delicate sweet flavor, with a pumpkin-like soft texture when cooked.

Anyway, other than the fact that cutting and cleaning the squash is a pain, this is a simple dish that comes together quickly.

Garnish with cilantro and serve warm with naan, paratha or brown basmati rice.

3 cups of diced squash
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
salt to taste
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
cilantro for garnish

for the coconut paste:
¼ cup grated coconut
1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
2 or 3 dry red chilies

½ teaspoon split urad dal
¼teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon coconut oil
6 to 8 curry leaves, if handy


  1. Heat the oil in a pan, add the turmeric powder and the squash, some salt and water, cover and cook till squash is soft but not mushy, drain any excess water
  2. Meanwhile, grind the coconut paste ingredients together
  3. Stir in the coconut paste and the brown sugar, adjust salt to taste
  4. Tempering: heat the oil, add urad dal, when it turns golden brown add the mustard seeds; when mustard seeds pop, add curry leaves if using, turn off heat and pour over the squash curry

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