This Indian-style butternut squash curry is layered with warming ingredients like turmeric, garam masala, ginger and garlic. Serve over steamed basmati rice and top with fresh cilantro for a delicious and comforting cold-weather meal!
When that first leaf turns you know it’s time for fall comfort food. It’s my favorite time of the year! Making and enjoying warm and cozy fall and winter dinners is the best part of the weather changing and this Butternut Squash Curry does not disappoint.
Every bite is warm, luscious, and perfect for a cool fall or winter day. Cubes of butternut squash are simmered until tender in a creamy curry bath made with sautéed shallot, ginger and garlic as well as turmeric, garam masala and fresh chilis for a mild kick. Coconut milk adds richness while still keepings things 100% dairy free. (Yep! That means this recipe is suitable for both vegans and vegetarians!)
Hungry for more? If you’re a curry fan you’ll also want to check out; Creamy Coconut Thai Green Chicken Curry and Coconut Curry Braised Salmon.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
Here’s everything you’ll need to make this recipe: Coconut oil or ghee, shallots, garlic, ginger, tomato paste, garam masala, turmeric, fresh chili or chili powder, coconut milk and butternut squash.
Recipe Step by Step:
Step 1. Sauté the Aromatics
Sautéing the aromatic ingredients (shallot, garlic and ginger) and “blooming” the spices (garam masala and turmeric) is arguably the most crucial part of making a great curry. In order to get the full depth and flavor from these ingredients it’s important to take the time to sauté them properly. Don’t rush or skip this step.
What does it mean to “bloom” spices? Blooming spices is a South Asian cooking technique in which spices are toasted– either in a dry pan or in oil– before being added to a dish. Dried spices are filled with essential oils, toasting them brings the complex flavors to their fullest potential and potency, that wouldn’t occur if you simply tossed them into a pot of simmering sauce.
Step 2. Simmer the Curry
Next, add in the tomato paste, coconut milk and cubed butternut squash. Bring everything to a low simmer then cover and cook just until the squash is tender. This could take anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on the size of your squash.
Step 3. Serve
Taste the curry and adjust the seasonings as needed. Spoon over bowls of steamed rice and top with fresh cilantro. Serve warm.
FAQs and Expert Tips
Squash that has been diced into ½ inch cubes should take only 5-6 minutes to become soft. Just test the texture with a fork to check its tenderness.
Love this recipe? Here’s a few more squash recipes to try next:
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Butternut Squash Coconut Curry
- ¼ cup coconut oil or ghee
- 2 large shallots minced
- 4 cloves garlic grated
- 2 tbsp grated ginger
- 2 tbsp garam masala
- 2 tsp turmeric
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 tbsp minced fresh chili like; Fresno, Serrano or Jalapeño or 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 cans full-fat coconut milk
- 1 medium butternut squash peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 4 cups steamed basmati rice
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the shallot, garlic and ginger until soft and aromatic, about 5-7 minutes then add in the garam masala and turmeric. Stir the spices together with the shallot mixture for 1 minute to "bloom" them or bring out their full flavor. Once you can really smell them — mission accomplished.
- Next, add the tomato paste. Sauté, stirring frequently for another 3-5 minutes, then add the minced chili (or chili powder) coconut milk, butternut squash cubes and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, turn the heat down to low then cover and simmer for 10-20 minutes until the squash is tender and soft.
- Taste and season the curry with additional salt or minced chili as needed. Serve over steamed basmati rice and top with chopped cilantro.
- Coconut Oil: Coconut oil and ghee both work in this recipe. Refined coconut oil is a better choice than unrefined for sautéing since it has a higher smoke point.
- Shallots: These come from the same family as onions, garlic and chives. They look similar to an onion, but the flavor is much sweeter and more delicate than an onion’s.
- Garlic: Use the freshest garlic you can find in this dish. When sautéed with shallots, the aroma and flavor is divine.
- Turmeric: This warming Indian spice adds the deep color and flavor we know and love in curry.
- Chili powder: Use regular dried chili powder if you’d like. Or, you can use minced fresh chili like Fresno chili, jalapeño, Serrano chili for a fresh spin.
- Coconut milk: Full-fat coconut milk will add extra creaminess and flavor to this dish. Low-fat coconut milk will work, but your curry won’t be nearly as thick and delicious.
- Butternut Squash: One of my favorite fall vegetables! Peel, seed, and chop a medium butternut squash into ½ inch chunks to be simmered in the curry until soft and full of flavor.
- Leftover curry can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat over low heat in a saucepan or in the microwave. Add a few tablespoons of water to loosen up the sauce as needed.
- Freezing Instructions: Cool, then freeze in airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in fridge then reheat in microwave until warm and creamy–stir well.
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