Rich, spicy curries of squash were a real mainstay throughout our time in Sri Lanka and were consistently excellent. We have opted to recreate our own version using Butternut because it brings similar sweetness to balance the fierce spice and also happens to be one of our favourite ingredients. The squash provides a really hearty almost meaty curry, making this vegan dish perfect for even the hungriest of diners!
1 Large Butternut Squash, cut into 2.5cm cubes
1 Small Onion, finely diced
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Red Chillies, finely diced
400ml Coconut Milk
10 Curry Leaves
2 tsp. Black Mustard Seeds
2 tsp. Cumin Seeds
3 tsp. Curry Powder
1 tsp. Fenugreek Seeds
1 tsp. Turmeric Powder
1 tsp. Chilli Powder
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
Juice of ½ a Lime
1tsp. Coconut Sugar
1 Small Bunch of Coriander, roughly chopped
Generous Pinch of Salt and Pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C.
2. Place the squash cubes onto a large roasting tray and drizzle 2 teaspoons of melted coconut oil over the butternut, followed by 2 teaspoons of the curry powder and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix together to ensure the butternut is evenly seasoned and place in the oven. Roast the butternut for 30-35 minutes or until the squash is cooked through and softened.
3. Place a large pan over a medium heat with 2 teaspoons of coconut oil. Once hot, add the mustard and cumin seeds to the pan and cook for a minute or until they just start to spit. Add in the onion, garlic, chilli and curry leaves and sauté for 2-3 minutes until the onions are just starting to colour. Next, add in the ground spices and cook off for a further 1-2 minutes.
4. Add the cooked butternut, coconut milk and coconut sugar to the pan, mix together and then leave to cook for 15-20 minutes or until the coconut milk has reduced by half.
If you can’t get ahold of coconut sugar you can replace this with regular caster sugar which is what would usually be used – we decided to use coconut sugar instead as it felt more in keeping with Sri Lanka’s love of coconut!
5. Add the juice of half a lime and season to taste. Top with coriander and serve with devilled cashews or regular roast cashews for some extra texture. Serve immediately as part of a tali or enjoy as the main event with rice.