Tamarind is a native African tree, also grown in India today, that bears pods, which fruit is used in all kinds of dishes. I have made a few recipes with tamarind paste like; Grilled Tamarind Pork Chops, Chicken Tacos and a Slow-Cooker Pot Roast with Indian Flavors. What all these dishes have in common is incredible flavor, coming from tangy, citrusy, and slightly fruity tamarind paste.
Curries are traditionally made with a blend of warming spices, but in this recipe, tamarind paste replaces traditional dried Indian spices, and becomes the highlight of the sauce. I decided to make this entire recipe vegan, utilizing meatless crumbles of chorizo, which also have a bit of heat, and add a special flavor to this curry. However, it’s the Kabocha winter squash with its deep orange hue, that creates a most marvelous vegetable based curry, along with some spinach and onions to compliment the dish.
A kettle of vegan curry boiling in your kitchen is a most inspiring meal to feed your family, especially after a day like yesterday, when we all could use a great big hug. I like to serve this dish over steaming basmati rice because it’s fragrance completes the insanely pleasant perfume, that wafts around the dining table.
1 Kabocha or butternut squash
1 large onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces meatless chorizo crumbles, I used Morning Star
12 ounces frozen or fresh spinach leaves
14 ounces coconut milk
1/3 cup tamarind paste
cilantro leaves for topping, optional
vegetable oil for cooking
- Slice squash in half and remove seeds. Place in a large microwave safe bowl (you can steam it on the stove top too), and add 1 cup water. Microwave for 20 minutes. Remove and let cool.
- In a large Dutch oven or pot, add 1 tablespoon oil and place over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, sauté for 4 minutes.
- Add chorizo crumbles and stir. Cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add spinach leaves and stir. Place lid over top of pan, so spinach melts into mixture, about 4 minutes.
- Add coconut milk and stir until combine. Add tamarind paste and stir into sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes to incorporate flavors.
- Scoop cooked squash into curry by tablespoonfuls. Stir to incorporate some pieces into sauce, while leaving some chunky. Sprinkle with cilantro leaves. Serve hot over rice. Enjoy!