Monday, November 10, 2014

How to peel and cut Acorn Squash?

I first met Acorn Squash at a party some 17 odd years ago when we had gone for a house warming party. The food was delicious and the one thing I specifically remember was this stir fry which to me tasted like the Indian orange pumpkin (parangikai). While leaving after complementing the hostess on the fantastic food I asked her about the stir fry and what vegetable it was. First of all it was brilliant to serve a stir fry made of Acorn Squash. Come to think of it after that I have never encountered Acorn Squash in a large gathering and neither have I attempted to serve it. Shame on me.

The toughest part about cooking acorn squash is cutting it. With its ridges it is hard to cut and peel the skin. The friend on the other hand did not peel the squash, instead she said she puts it in a bag and whacks it a couple of time till it breaks apart and then roughly chops them. I did not try whacking the squash but tried to cut it and gave up and moved on to butternut squash.

The thing with butternut squash is whatever level of ripeness when cooked the flesh becomes tender and smooth. With acorn squash on the other hand the squash has to be fully ripe for it to smooth and creamy. So look for one which has slightly orange spots on it. I got hooked on to this tasty squash again when we were offered a taste of some roasted acorn squash in the grocery store a few weeks ago. I could not believe I had completely abandoned this tasty squash.

So here we are,
The first hurdle is the cutting problem which I will try to solve here today. The second is the recipe. It is fantastic roasted with whatever spices you'd like, in soups or the Indian way as a stir fry with just onions and red chilies just like this recipe using butternut squash or in a sambhar. The natural sweetness of the squash makes anything it touches delicious.

A sturdy knife and a cutting board will help make the process a breeze. I usually wash the squash outside (also cantaloupe, water melon or anything that gets on the cutting board) and pat dry before placing on the cutting board and starting to cut it. This way I can use the cutting to cut other vegetables without worrying about what got on the board from the outside of the squash.

Steps to cut an Acorn Squash,
Using the natural ridge of the Acorn squash cut along the ridge engthwise on one side, turn and do the same on the other side. Once both sides have been cut along the edges it should be easily to split in half.
Using a spoon scoop out the seeds, wash them and spread them in a plate to dry for roasting later.
Using the ridges to guide you cut lengthwise.
Once the squash is cut into ridge it is easy to peel the skin with the peeler.
Now that the squash is peeled chop them into desired sizes and use them in any recipe.

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