Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Vegan Kabocha Squash Coconut Curry With Peas, Red Bell Pepper And Israeli Couscous -

Kabocha squash is also known as Japanese pumpkin

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Fusion Cuisine
When you take a Japanese pumpkin, add Indian curry to tropical coconut milk and stir in Israeli couscous, you may just want to wave that zippo lighter while breaking out in a chorus of "We are the World"! I love "fusion cuisine" where you mix different types of cooking. Yesterday, I think I found my new favorite restaurant, "Avatar's" in Sausalito. I will do a proper restaurant review of this amazing eatery in the future, but they feature dishes that combine elements of both Mexican and Indian cuisine. The owner surprised me with a vegan curried pumpkin enchilada with a drizzle of mango sauce! Do you have any favorite combinations of ethnic dishes or ideas for some? Write a comment!
Kabocha Squash
Also known as "Japanese pumpkin", this lovely squash has bumpy, dark green skin and is a bit sweeter and denser than a sugar pumpkin. It almost has the consistency of a sweet potato. I really love everything about this squash, especially the fact that you don't have to peel them! Just pull out the seeds, dice them up and throw them in a curry - so easy! I will warn you, however, if you leave the skin on when making a pumpkin pie, you'll end up with a pretty unattractive brown pie!

A 2.5 pound kabocha squash or Japanese pumpkin
A Simple Curry
I find it almost impossible to write up a curry recipe for you because there are an infinite number of curry blends using ingredients like turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, ginger and other spices. I usually keep a "sweet curry" and a "hot curry" in my spice cabinet and blend them together in different ratios depending on how spicy I want the dish. So the amount of curry in this recipe is merely a suggestion. 
I like adding the curry when I am sautéing the veggies as it seems to mix in more easily.

Sautéing the veggies in a 5 quart Dutch oven
Israeli Couscous
Larger than regular couscous, Israeli couscous are really just small, round balls of pasta. I love their size and texture. Unfortunately they are difficult to find in "whole grain". There are a few on the internet but read the reviews carefully before you order. Roland, sold on Amazon, has some bad reviews claiming the couscous tasted "stale". If you have had luck finding a good whole grain couscous, let us know!

Vegan Kabocha Squash Curry with Israeli Couscous
[makes 6 servings]
A 2.5 pound kabocha squash, seeds removed and cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup dry Israeli couscous
2 cups or more water with a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons sweet curry, or to taste
1 teaspoon hot curry, or to taste
1 cup frozen peas, rinsed in hot water to thaw
One 15.5 ounce can light coconut milk
1 cup veggie broth or water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

Steam kabocha squash for 5 minutes or until barely fork tender. Do not overcook. Remove from steamer and set aside.
In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil, add couscous, lower heat and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until done but still firm. Stir while cooking to prevent pasta from sticking to the bottom. Add more boiling water if needed.
In a 5 quart Dutch oven, heat olive oil and sauté onions and peppers for 5 to 8 minutes until tender. 
Add sweet and hot curry and mix thoroughly.
Add peas and cook for several minutes.
Add coconut milk, broth and salt and bring to a boil.
Lower heat and mix in cooked kabocha squash and couscous and heat for several minutes.
Serve immediately.

Per serving: 242.2 calories, 6.3 g fat, 3.8 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 6.4 g protein, 39.6 g carbohydrates and 3.6 g dietary fiber.


Amanda said...

This looks delicious and satisfying. And as a bonus, it's full of nutrients. I've only recently tried Kabocha squash thanks to my CSA bin, and I loved it. I'll have to try this soon.

Cheryl Allen Salinas said...

This looks really great! I'm going to try it. We must be on the same wavelength. I've never cooked with Israeli cous cous before, so I came up with a salad with it last night and posted the results around the time you were posting this! Struck me funny -- what are the chances?! Keep up the good work!

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

That is funny! I just looked at your post and I see that you found whole grain Israeli couscous. Where did you find it and how was it?

Debra said...

I have never tried Israeli Couscous before or Japanese Pumpkin. I need to get out there and find these items. This dish sounds really delicious with the coconut curry.

Emily said...

What a timely post! I just bought one of this kind of squash for the first time a couple of days ago. I had no idea you could leave the skin on! I'm really excited to try it now!

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog via a recommendation from a friend. I love it. Curry dishes are a big favorite around our house, so this one should go over big. I found so many delicious recipes on your site that I added you to my blogroll.

Cheryl Allen Salinas said...

I got the couscous at our local natural foods warehouse. The whole grain kind is good, but more "starchy" less slippery than the white israeli couscous.