Anjum Anand's Butternut Squash Chickpea Curry Recipe

I love Indian food.  I love the spices and I love the way it showcases how wonderful vegetarian food can be.  There is no bland or boring vegetarian food here.  It’s deliciously and addictively spiced and the aroma is absolutely mouth watering.

Despite my love of Indian food, I will embarrassingly admit I’d only ever made curries at home based on sauces that come pre-made in a jar.  As delicious as they can be, they aren’t as good as the real thing and you don’t get the lovely aromas in the kitchen that you get when I make a curry from scratch.

I’d also always assumed that Indian curries involved lots of fiddly steps and time.  Recently I started watching Anjum Anand’s Indian Food Made Easy show and discovered that making Indian food at home is not as complicated as you may think.  If you haven’t heard of Anjum Anand, she has been called the Nigella of Indian cooking.  While there is no doubt she is gorgeous, like Nigella, she also shares Nigella’s enthusiasm for food.  I also love Anjum’s enthusiasm for sharing Indian food and showing home cooks that Indian food need not be complicated or merely the domain of your local Indian take out.

Anjum Anand butternut squash chickpea curry recipe

Immediately after watching one of Anjum’s show I was inspired to make her butternut pumpkin (squash) and chickpea curry.  So I jotted down the ingredients I needed and headed to our local Indian supermarket.

I love Indian supermarkets.  I love the smell of all of the wonderful spices and I also love that the spices are so cheap.  You can buy large packets of spices for under $2 whereas you would pay $3 for a packet one tenth of the size at a normal supermarket.  I highly recommend checking out whether you have an Indian supermarket nearby.

Despite forgetting the turmeric I had on my shopping list, I gathered all my ingredients and headed home to make the curry.  The aroma wafting from the kitchen while I made the curry was fantastic.  Even better, was that this curry was surprisingly simple to make.  So simple in fact that it could be made on a week night after work.  It was delicious served with lemon rice, another recipe from Anjum Anand.

Given the success of this recipe, I can’t wait to try some of Anjum’s other recipes.  Have you ever made a curry from scratch?  How did it turn out?

 

Bengali Butternut Squash Curry Recipe

Bengali Butternut Pumpkin & Chickpea Curry

Recipe adapted from Anjum Anand via BBC Food

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • large pinch of ground asafoetida
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon Bengali five-spice (also known as panch poran)
  • 2 mild dried red chilis
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 500g butternut pumpkin (squash), peeled, seeds removed and cut into cubes
  • 200ml boiling water
  • 200g tin of chickpeas (garbonzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • salt, to taste

Method:

  1. Place a large non-stick pan over a medium heat and preheat the oil before adding the asafoetida, bay leaf, panch phoran (Bengali five-spice) and chilis. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring well to combine.
  2. Add the onion and stir to coat in the spices. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until softened and golden-brown.
  3. Add the ground cumin and coriander, along with the salt and ginger paste. Stir well before adding a splash of water, stir and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the butternut pumpkin (squash) pieces and the boiling water and bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the with a lid and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the butternut pumpkin (squash) is tender.
  5. Add the chickpeas, garam masala and fennel seeds and mix to combine. If necessary, add more water to keep the mixture loose. Season with salt to taste and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.

 

Lemon Rice

Recipe adapted from Anjum Anand via BBC Food

Serves 2 – 3

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • pinch fenugreek seeds
  • 2-3 dried red chillies, left whole
  • 1 rounded tsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 10 curry leaves, torn in half
  • salt, to taste
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
  • 350g/12oz freshly cooked basmati rice

 

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add the mustard and fenugreek seeds and the chillies and stir fry until lightly browned.
  2. Add the ginger, curry leaves and salt, to taste, and cook for about 40 seconds.
  3. Stir in the lemon juice and cook for another minute before adding the rice. Stir fry to heat through, being careful not to break up the grains too much.