Roasted Pumpkin with Garlic Yogurt
This recipe for roasted squash is inspired by a few of the root vegetable & squash recipes from Meera Sodha's cookbook, Fresh India. I really like the idea of roasting vegetables to infuse them with flavors as you might do with meats, then adding a lighter sauce to brighten them. The skin of kabocha and red kuri squash is thick and hard to cut through, but it becomes soft and edible when you cook it. Roasted, it gets a glossy, sometimes crispy finish and helps keep the squash wedges intact.
The first time I made this, I actually made a vegan version. I will include substitutions if you want to make a vegan/dairy-free version. This is an excellent, rather sweet vegetable side dish that goes well with a spicy dal. I make my version a bit spicy, but you can adjust the chili to your preference and/or replace with paprika.
one medium red kuri or kabocha squash
one head of garlic
1-2 tablespoons ghee (or 1 tbsp olive oil + one tbsp Earth Balance margarine to make it vegan)
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp coriander
2 inches of ginger, grated
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp jaggery (or substitute coconut sugar or palm sugar)
up to one tbsp kashmiri chili powder, or other mild red chili powder
1/4-1/2 tsp spicy cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp garam masala
juice of 1/2 a lemon
3/4 cup full fat Greek yogurt (I like Este brand. To make it vegan, use an unsweetened plain vegan yogurt—coconut base works well here)
pomegranate seeds (optional)
pumpkin seeds (optional)
fresh cilantro (optional)
preheat an oven to 425ºF
Cut the squash in half. Scoop out the seeds, then cut into wedges
separate the cloves of garlic but leave them in their peels
mix the ingredients from the ghee to the tomato paste together with a pinch of salt to form a thick paste. Massage the paste into the squash wedges and spread them onto a sheet pan or shallow casserole dish. Add the garlic cloves and make sure the seasoning is on everything. If there isn't enough, add some olive oil.
roast the squash and garlic for 25-40 minutes, or until a fork can comfortably pierce the squash flesh and the skins look glossy. You want the exterior to be a bit caramelized, but you also don't want to overcook the squash because it needs to hold its shape.
carefully remove the garlic cloves from the roasting pan and peel them. Crush them into a soft paste (this should be easy as they will have steamed inside the skins)
mix the Greek yogurt with the lemon juice, garlic, and a pinch of salt. You may need to add a little water to thin it out, depending on the brand of yogurt you use
sprinkle the garam masala over the squash wedges. Add more salt if necessary.
drizzle the yogurt over the squash wedges. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, and cilantro (if desired)