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Squash, raisin and almond curry

This is yummy, although I discovered the amount of chilli in this recipe raises the curry to a "four alarm" strength, and Maths Geek and The Naughty Knight asked me to read them poems from a book to help them "get eating" . Reduce the quantity of chilli (or omit) hugely for those preferring a "one alarm" curry.  Try to cut the squash into relatively small, equal sized chunks. This will make sure that they get cooked before the curry dries out and that they are all cooked to a similar "bite". I use dried lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves,  as it is more economical, only having to buy one packet every so often, rather than worrying about fresh ingredients going off, but obviously fresh would give even more flavour.  
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or ground nut oil
  • 2 cm cubed ginger, peeled and grated finely
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 stalk dried lemon grass, chopped
  • 4 dried kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • half sweet squash (e.g. Crown Prince or Butternut), peeled and chopped into small chunks
  • juice of half lime
  • handful raisins
  • 4 tbsp blanched almonds
  • handful coriander leaves, chopped
  1. In a small non-stick frying pan dry roast  the coriander and cumin seeds.  This only takes a few minutes, and needs care not to burn, removing from heat as soon as you smell the toasted aroma. When cooled, crush with pestle and mortar.
  2. In a wok fry the onion in a little vegetable oil.  When golden and sweet, remove 1 tbsp and put it in a blender, leaving the rest in the wok.  Turn off the heat.
  3. To the blender add the ginger, garlic cloves, dried chilli, lemon grass, 2 kaffir lime leaves, toasted cumin and coriander seeds and 2 tbsp of the coconut milk.  Blitz to a paste.  
  4. Heat the wok again and add the paste to the cooked onions.  Stir. Cook for a further few minutes. 
  5. Add the squash, cut into chunks of about 1 cm cubed.  Coat with the sauce and add the rest of the tin of coconut milk, the lime juice and the remaining 2 kaffir lime leaves.  Simmer for half an hour or so or until the squash is tender. 
  6. Meanwhile, place the almonds, whole, in a very hot oven for a couple of minutes until golden. Keep a careful eye on them as they are likely to burn if you get distracted by an interesting conversation or a whining child.  Allow to cool, then bash with the end of a rolling pin or in a pestle and mortar.
  7. Add the raisins to the curry and heat through. 
  8. Scatter the toasted almonds and coriander leaves on top of the curry and serve with plenty of rice and water.