Butternut Squash in Tamarind Masala

Rick Stein's amazing programme last year about India was brilliant, not least because the recipes are actually as lovely to cook at home as they were to watch on TV (and let's be honest, this isn't always the case when you watch stuff on TV and then you buy the book). Everything 'India' that I've cooked so far has been delicious; but this butternut squash recipe might be the favourite... It's tangy-chutney type quality makes it a brilliant thing to serve with a more mellow vegetable curry; but it is also very good on the side with a lamb chop and some saffron rice. The ingredients list does look a bit involved but I was surprised the first time I made it about how quickly everything comes together. Oh, and did I mention that it's really healthy?!


  • Half a tsp Fenugreek Seeds (optional – I’m not such a fan!)
  • 1 tsp Nigella Seeds
  • 50g Ginger
  • Butternut Squash
  • Half a tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 75g Dates (or Prunes work well)
  • 2 tbsp Dessicated Coconut
  • 2 tbsp Raisins
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • Big pinch of Salt
  • 1 tsp Tamarind (optional)

Prepare your ingredients in advance as this makes quick cooking much easier…

Peel the Butternut Squash, de-seed it and then chop into chunky 2cm ish cubes

Weigh out half a tsp of Fenugreek Seeds, 1 tsp Nigella Seeds and finely chop up 50g fresh Ginger

Separately, measure out half a tsp Chilli Powder, 1 tsp Ground Coriander and finely chop as much fresh Red Chilli as you like (I used a whole one)

Finally, weigh out 2 tbsp Dessicated Coconut, 2 tbsp Raisins, 2 tsp Sugar and a big pinch of Salt.  Chop up 75g Dates (or Prunes)

Now you’re ready to cook (!)… Heat a pan with a little Olive Oil and when hot, give the Fenugreek Seeds, the Nigella Seeds and the Ginger 30 seconds in the pan

Then, add the Squash, Chilli Powder and fresh Chilli and the Ground Coriander.  Fry for a minute or two, and stir before lowering the heat, covering with a lid and cooking for 10 minutes (stirring occasionally)

Next add the Dates, Coconut, Raisins, Sugar and Salt.  Stir and cover again, cooking over a gentle heat for 10 minutes

Taste to check that the Squash is cooked, and that the Masala tastes good – it might do with an extra pinch of Salt??

Stir a teaspoon of Tamarind paste through if you fancy a bit more tangy sweetness, although sometimes I don’t bother – it tastes great as it is

Is excellent with slow roasted Lamb… or with Mash Ki Dal… or just with some Saffron Rice or Roti.  Chopped Red Onion and Cucumber are also lovely sprinkled around this with a dollop of natural or Greek Yoghurt

This recipe is from Rick Stein’s ‘India’ – is a genuinely great read

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