If you read our two-part interview with Madhur Jaffrey, then you'd know that she has a lot on her mind as well as a new cookbook out called At Home With Madhur Jaffrey: Simple, Delectable Dishes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. This got us wondering what would happen if we asked for a Thanksgiving recipe. Her heart instantly went out to the non-meat eaters at the holiday table, the ones often stuck eating mashed potatoes, green beans and not much else.
“There's wonderful dishes for vegetarians [in the book],” Jaffrey said, then offered up a recipe for a sweet and sour butternut squash cooked with mustard seeds, cayenne, yogurt, cilantro and Jaffrey's beloved asafetida. “It's really simple, but it's a very, very good dish.”
Sweet and Sour Butternut Squash or Pumpkin
From: Madhur Jaffrey, At Home With Madhur Jaffrey: Simple, Delectable Dishes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Note: This belongs to a category of Bangladeshi foods known as bharats. Part relish and part vegetable dish, they add extra flavor to a meal. We are beginning to find peeled and seeded butternut squash in our supermarkets now, making this dish a snap to make. Those who cannot find it will need to use a peeler to get the skin off. I like to use mustard oil here, as it gives a very Bengali taste to the dish. If you have never used it, this might be a good time to try. Otherwise, use olive oil. I love this with all pork dishes and at vegetarian meals with other vegetables, dal, and pooris (a deep-fried flatbread).
3 tablespoons mustard or olive oil
A generous pinch of ground asafetida
1/2 teaspoon whole brown or yellow mustard seeds
4 cups (1.25 pounds) peeled and seeded butternut squash or pumpkin, cut into 3/4-1-inch segments
¾-1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1. Pour the oil into a frying pan and set over medium heat. When hot, put in
the asafetida and mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds start to pop, a matter of seconds, put in the squash.
2. Stir and fry for about 3 minutes or until the pieces just start to brown. Add 1⁄4 cup water, cover, turn heat to low, and cook about 10 minutes or until the squash is tender.
3. Put in the salt, sugar, cayenne, and yogurt. Stir and cook, uncovered, over
medium heat, until the yogurt is absorbed and no longer visible. Sprinkle in
the cilantro and stir a few times.