Japanese Squash Curry


I used the Japanese Kuri squash which is a fiery red colour. It roasts well. You can use any drier variety of squash for this curry. The recipe for Japanese curry powder follows but you can also buy it in Asian grocery stores. One of the main ingredients is always turmeric which gives the curry its yellow colour.

1 Japanese Kuri, about 3 to 4 lbs (1.5 to 2 kg), peeled and cut into 1-inch (2-cm) cubes

6 tbsp (90 mL) vegetable oil, plus more if needed

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp (30 mL) Japanese curry powder (recipe follows)

1 cup (250 mL) diced onion

1 cup (250 mL) unpeeled coarsely grated apple

1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped ginger

1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped garlic

2 cups (500 mL) chicken or vegetable stock

4 cups (1 L) chopped kale or baby spinach

2 tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 450 F (230 C).

Toss cubed squash with 4 tbsp (60 mL) oil. Season with salt, pepper and 1 tbsp (15 mL) Japanese curry powder. Place on oiled baking sheet and roast for 15 to 18 minutes, turning once, or until squash is fork tender and tinged with gold.

Heat remaining 2 tbsp (30 mL) oil over medium heat. Add onions to skillet and sauté for 2 minutes or until softened. Add half the grated apple, remaining curry powder, ginger and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes or until fragrant. If mixture is too dry, add 1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 mL) more oil.

Stir in stock a little at a time until well combined. Bring to boil, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes to thicken. Add remaining apple and cook 1 minute more. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Add squash to skillet and cook in sauce for 5 minutes or until squash has absorbed flavour. Stir in kale and cook for 1 minute or until wilted. Garnish with cilantro just before serving. Serve with rice.

Japanese Curry Powder

This curry powder gets its traditional deep yellow colour from the turmeric, which is touted as an excellent anti-inflammatory. It is not a hot curry; it is more textured, with layered flavour. Extra curry powder keeps well in a sealed container.

2 tbsp (30 mL) turmeric

1 tbsp (15 mL) ground coriander

1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin

½ tsp (2 mL) ground cardamom

½ tsp (2 mL) cinnamon

½ tsp (2 mL) ground ginger

½ tsp (2 mL) freshly ground pepper

¼ tsp (1 mL) cayenne pepper

¼ tsp (1 mL) ground cloves

¼ tsp (1 mL) ground fennel

Combine all spices in a small bowl and stir until uniform. Makes about 1/4 cup (60 mL)