This recipe, was not on the menu last week, but has crept into ‘favourites’ Easy to make and tastes delicious
300g short-grain brown rice/or basmati
1 red onion
2 cloves of garlic
A thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger
1 red chili
a large bunch of fresh coriander
400g butternut squash
1 × 200g bag of spinach or other greens
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 × 400g tin of good chopped tomatoes
1 × 400g tin of coconut milk
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
50g unsweetened coconut flakes or desiccated coconut
2 un-waxed limes
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Fill and boil a kettle and get all your ingredients together. Put a big saucepan on a medium heat. Get your rice on. Weigh out the rice in a mug or measuring jug, making a note of the level it comes up to, then rinse it in cold water and put it into the pan. Fill the mug to the same level with water and add to the pan, then repeat so you have double the volume of water to rice. Add a good pinch of salt, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the red onion. Put a teaspoon of coconut oil into another large saucepan, add the onion and cook on a high heat for 5 minutes, until soft. Chop the garlic, ginger and chili and put to one side. Peel the carrots and chop into 0.5cm rounds. Chop the coriander stalks; put the leaves to one side. Once the onion is soft, add the garlic, ginger, carrots and coriander stalks to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes. Cut the squash in half lengthways (there is no need to peel) and then into quarters. Remove the seeds, and then cut into thin 0.5cm slices. Wash the spinach and remove any tough stalks.
Add the fennel and mustard seeds to the pan and allow to cook until the mustard seeds start popping, then add the squash, chopped tomatoes, coconut milk and tamarind paste. Put a lid on the pan and simmer on a medium-high heat for 20 minutes, until you have a thick, flavorsome curry. Top up with a little hot water from the kettle if it gets too thick. Meanwhile, line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Put the coconut flakes on the tray and grate over the zest of 1 lime. Pour over the maple syrup and put into the oven for 5 minutes, until turning golden at the edges. When the rice is ready, drain it and keep it warm. Once the curry is cooked, stir in the spinach and the coriander leaves and squeeze in the juice of both the limes. Spoon some rice into your bowls and ladle the curry over the top. Scatter the roasted coconut on top and finish with more coriander, if you like.