Khatta Meetha Teekha Kaddu/ Sweet, Sour & Spicy Squash
India has changed a lot in the past 20 years. It’s hard to believe this is the same country I grew up in! People, especially the younger generation seem to be getting more inclined on takeaway foods. As a result western brands like Macdonald’s, Dominos, Dunkin’ Donuts, Pizza hut, Starbuck’s etc.., are gaining popularity. Some of these restaurants have even designed their menu items to cater to local dietary needs. I don’t know if they have gluten free food on their menu, nor did I bother to check. I was there to attend my niece’s wedding and Punjabi weddings generally consists of five ceremonies often lasting around 5-8 days at a stretch. The food served at the ceremonies is always heavy and rich. I wanted to fully enjoy the festivities and couldn’t take the chance of getting sick in this short visit so I only ate home cooked meals leading up to the wedding.
Every time I go back to India in the winters I load up on vegetables as much as I can. Breakfast, Lunch, dinner and snack will all have some amount of vegetable. The reason is because a wide variety of vegetables are available in the winter and they are the freshest and tastiest. For as long as I can remember produce in India is sold in Sabzi Mandi ( stands for open vegetable markets) or through mobile vendors. As a consumer, people simply love to toy around in picking the perfect piece of fruit or vegetable from a traditional cart vendor. Food for us is actually more oriented with taste than with looks. People want to touch and feel the produce before buying them. With the introduction of mall culture, things are beginning to change and now the younger generation is ordering vegetables online or on the phone. Even these services claim to deliver within 24 hours but in many cities traditional cart vendors are still a big part of Indian culture. Here, you would agree with me that the vegetables or fruits you buy at vegetable markets (called farmers market in the west) are seasonal, fresh, more nutritious, and you get the moral satisfaction that it reached you sooner after being harvested.
If you are a traveler and celiac or gluten intolerant I would suggest to go visit a market to witness the buying and selling of fruits and vegetables. Interact with the vendor and find out the local name and use of specific fruits and vegetables. Buy fresh tomato, cucumber, radish (avoid salad leaves), cheese, or sprout lentils and try making your own sandwich for breakfast. Or simply grab a freshly harvested fruit from a rehriwalla (traditional cart vendor).The experience will be fun. Gf bread is available in the freezer section at most department stores. You can also buy gluten free atta (flour) and ask the hotel staff to make Gf roti or vegetable stuffed parathas for you. They won’t mind doing it for a few extra bucks. When you buy Gf Products in Punjab there are no separate assigned isles or sections as there are in Canada. You just have to ask for it.
After coming from India my body was still going through intense vegetable cravings. Then, looking at the recipe of Red curry coconut squash on ‘SugarloveSpices‘ blog I had this ‘light bulb’ moment. I decided to cook butternut squash in Indian style. Usually, I make Khatta Meetha Teekha Kaddu with carnival or kaboocha squash. In India it is made with a different squash which is not available here but any sweet and firm flesh squash works for this recipe. It’s one of my favorites and very simple to prepare. This dish has a nice balance of tart, sweet and spicy that will engage all of your senses. This is a semi dry dish but its texture can be customized to taste. Some prefer to cook in curry style, some like it mushy, and others prefer chunky (like mine), so it depends on individual choice. The taste remains the same only the look changes. It goes really well with roti (Indian flatbread), poories (fried puffed bread) and as a side with lentil and rice alike. Good thing is that you don’t have to peel butternut squash for this recipe.
A yummy, sweet, sour and spicy dish that goes extremely well with roti or rice.
- 700 -800g organic butternut squash
- 1/3 cup sliced onion
- 1 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp saunf (fennel seeds)
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 3/4 tsp methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp. amchur or lemon juice to taste
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 2 green chili chopped
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tbsp. EVOO
- Wash the butternut squash really well
- To cut, insert big sharp knife in the center of butternut squash and then slightly bang on the counter, knife will go almost all the way. Next, cut the bottom and neck into half. Remove the seeds and membrane with a spoon. Cut each half into wedges and, then into 1" cubes.
- Heat up oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add mustard, cumin, saunf, methi seeds. Once they splutter, add onion.
- Allow the onions to turn golden before adding ginger and garlic paste.
- Once everything is nicely golden brown add turmeric and red chili powder. Fry for 15-20 seconds.
- Then add the chopped squash, green chilli, salt and mix well so as to evenly coat them into the spices. Roast them for about a minute.
- Add water and cover and cook on medium low heat for 25-30 minutes (10 minutes if you peel) or until the squash is cooked all the way through. (You need to stir once or twice in between).
- Add amchur or lemon juice and brown sugar. Cook without cover for little while letting the sweet and sour flavor meld right into the squash (if you want some gravy add water at this point).
- Give it a taste test and adjust the spices and salt.
- Serve hot with roti or rice.
This post is linked to Tasty Tuesdays.