Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Coconut Cashew Squash Curry

As of yesterday, I am now on a "Nutritional Cleanse" which means I am having 2 smoothies a day and one healthy meal. It is similar to Dr. Unger's "Clean" but instead of using his products I am using Designs for Health Paleo-Cleanse. So far so good.
My one meal yesterday was this incredible Squash Curry. I found the recipe in Sunset magazine but altered it because the final fat count was 48 grams per serving. I am not fat phobic. I am probably too liberal with olive oil. I turn my nose up at low fat and fat free diary products and fake low calorie cheeses and products. However, I have two exceptions to my dislike of low fat/ non fat foods: yogurt and coconut milk. So, unless you are some really big muscular dude or a naturally thin person with a fast metabolism and are doing intense cardio for an hour a day 5 or more days a week, you do not need to eat 48 grams of fat in one meal. Or at least I don't. It doesn't matter how healthy the food I eat is, if I eat too much of it I will gain weight.
So I nixed the full fat coconut milk and substituted low fat coconut milk and chicken broth. The other substitutions I made for this recipe were: delicata squash instead of pumpkin, a small handful cashews per serving instead of a 1/4 cup, brown rice instead of white rice, and I added mint.
This is amazing when cleansing because it tastes so decadent it almost feels like you are eating some sort of a desert.
Feel free to make it more fattening if you fall into one of the categories mentioned above.

Coconut Cashew Curry

1 1/2 qts. peeled, 1 1/2-in. chunks pumpkin or other orange-fleshed squash (from a 3-lb. squash) (I used Delicata)

About 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided (I used olive)

1 onion, halved and cut into half-moons

1 or 2 red or green serrano chiles, minced

1 cinnamon stick (2 1/2 in. long)

20 fresh curry leaves* or 6 dried bay leaves

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 can (14.5 oz.) coconut milk ( I used low fat and some chicken broth)

1 cup salted roasted cashews (I sprinkle a few per serving on top)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Steamed basmati rice (I used brown)

1. Sprinkle pumpkin with 1/2 tsp. salt. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Brown half the pumpkin in oil, turning once, 6 to 8 minutes; reduce heat if pumpkin starts getting dark. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with 1 tbsp. oil and remaining pumpkin.

2. Heat remaining 1 tbsp. oil meanwhile in another large frying pan over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until deep golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer half to the nonstick frying pan and reserve other half in a bowl.

3. Add chiles, cinnamon, and curry leaves to onion in pan. Cook, stirring often, until curry leaves are very fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add turmeric, cumin, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring, until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.

4. Return pumpkin to nonstick frying pan (with onion) and add coconut milk. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer until pumpkin is tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in cashews and lemon juice, and add more salt to taste. Top curry with reserved onion and serve with rice. Add fresh herbs like mint and cilantro and basil.

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