As it’s ‘Meat Free Monday’ we will start National Curry Week with a firm favourite of mine.
Squash and pumpkin are not native to India, so this is my take on using everyday highly nutritious local ingredients with aromatic spices to create a dish that delivers deliciousness every time. Although I’m using French beans (also known as green beans), they are every bit locally grown, as is the squash.
Butternut Squash with French Beans Curry
2 tbsp ghee or vegan butter
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium (120g) onions, finely chopped
2 tsp garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
¼ tsp hot chilli powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp mango powder
½ tsp ground turmeric
300g butternut squash
150g French beans
40 ml water or as necessary
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves to garnish
1 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted
- Peel the butternut squash and cut into 2 cm pieces.
- Heat ghee or vegan butter in large pan, add the cumin seeds and then the onions. Stir and cook until the onions have softened and are turning lightly brown.
- Add the garlic, ginger, chillies and dry spices; stir into the onions on a low heat, to ensure the spices do not burn, cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add butternut squash and beans, stir well. Place a lid on the pan and cook for about 20 minutes or until squash and beans are just tender.
- Add a little water as necessary to enable the vegetables to cook gently, without creating a gravy consistency.
- Remove from the heat, garnish with 1 tbsp of fresh coriander, and toasted flaked almonds.
- Serve at once. Enjoy with chappatis or a lentil dish such as Tarka Daal.
French beans are a delight for weight watchers since they are low in calories yet nutrient-dense. They are packed with carotenoids and highly concentrated amounts of chlorophyll. They contain just 31 calories per 100g, no saturated fat, and are high in dietary fibre which acts as a bulking laxative. And to top it all – plenty of Vitamin A, B6, B12 and Vitamin C, potassium and manganese.
Butternut Squash is also another power player, it is one of the most nutritious and healthiest vegetables you can eat, with a vast rich array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as well as significant amounts of digestive fibre. Like French beans, butternut squash is loaded with antioxidant alpha and beta carotenoids to protect your body’s cells from damaging free radicals. Research by Manchester University has shown that alpha carotene has a significantly better anti-carcinogenic activity (the ability to prevent the spread of cancer cells) than the more well known beta-carotene. Beta-cryptoxanthin research suggests a regular intake can reduce your risk of developing arthritis and lung cancer.
Squash is also a great source of two other powerful antioxidants known as zeaxanthin and lutein, which are especially good for protecting your vision. Our bodies concentrate these two carotenoids in the macular region of the eyes where they protect our vision from damaging UV and blue light radiation.
If you would like to learn how to cook about nutrient dense dishes attend our nutritional cooking class where you will learn how to change your eating habits for a lifetime.
Kumud Gandhi is a Nutritional Food Scientist bestselling Author, Broadcaster, and Keynote Speaker on the subject of nutritional health for productivity & performance in the workplace. In 2010 Kumud founded ‘The Cooking Academy’ a cookery school that focusses on cooking for nutritional health and wellbeing. Kumud regularly presents to international audiences on a variety of topics such as ‘Eating for Immunity and a Lifetime of Wellness’. She is an expert in the field of Wellness in the Workplace and works with organizations to create transformational change in employee health & well-being through nutrition and health coaching.