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Asha's Konkan-ish Squash Curry

Recipe By: Asha Loupy

Serves 4

Asha's Konkan-ish Squash Curry
Photo by:  

Melati Citrawireja

Inspired by the tangy, chili-tinged fish and seafood curries found along the Konkan coast, this vegetarian version will tempt your taste buds on every level. Konkan Kokum provides a nuanced sour backbone, while Byadgi chillies bring a mild heat with coconut milk lending a subtle sweetness, complementing the natural sweetness of the squash. If you want to dial up the heat level, you can substitute Guntur Sannam chillies for a medium heat and Kashmiri chillies for a little more fire.  While all types of winter squash are beautiful in this dish, if you can get your hands on kabocha squash, it is truly special here, becoming almost custardy and soaking in all those delicious flavors.

Cook's note: Squash varieties like kabocha, delicata and acorn do not need peeling. If you are using a squash variety with a thicker skin, you may want to peel the squash before cutting and cleaning it.

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  • 5–6 petals Konkan Kokum
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground Nandini Coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon Bindu Black Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sugandhi Fenugreek seeds
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 3 large shallots, finely diced
  • 3–4 Indian green chillies, or 1 serrano, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled & minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon  Byadgi Chilli, Guntur Sannam Chilli, or Kashmiri Chilli powder depending on desired heat level
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pragati Turmeric
  • A few grinds of Aranya Black Pepper
  • One 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 pounds winter squash, like kabocha, acorn, butternut or delicata, seeds and guts scraped out and cut into 1 1/4-inch chunks (see Cook's Note about peeling vs. not peeling)


  1. Place the kokum petals in a blender, cover with 1/2 cup boiling water, and allow to rehydrate for at least 20 minutes to 1 hour. Blend until smooth and set aside. Alternatively, soak the kokum petals in a small bowl and squeeze the rehydrated petals to break them apart into small pieces.
  2. Heat the coconut oil a large pot, Dutch oven or karipot over medium heat. Add the coriander, mustard seeds and fenugreek, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mustard seeds start to pop, about 30 to 45 seconds. Add the curry leaves and fry the leaves until they turn a deep shade of green, about 1 minute more.
  3. Add the shallots and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they are softened and translucent, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the green chillies, garlic, ginger, and tomato paste and cook until the aromatics are fragrant and the tomato paste has deepened in color to brick red, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the powdered chillies, turmeric, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds, being careful not to burn the spices. Add the reserved kokum and any soaking liquid, as well as the coconut milk, and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, taste and adjust salt as necessary.
  4. Add the squash, gently stirring to coat the pieces in the gravy and arrange into as close to a single layer as possible, making sure the pieces are submerged in the liquid. Bring back to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook, stirring a couple times, until the squash is fork-tender, but not falling apart and the coconut oil starts to split creating a bright red slick across the surface of the curry, about 20 to 25 minutes for more delicate squash (like delicata) and 25 to 30 minutes (like kabocha, acorn and butternut).
  5. Turn off the heat, keep covered and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes (this will continue to gently cook the squash and allow the flavors to penetrate all the way through the vegetables). Enjoy hot with short grain rice or Moringa Lachha Paratha.

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