Monday, November 16, 2009

Cowpeas with butternut squash

I read a review of "BRIGHT-SIDED How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America" by Barbara Ehrenreich, how true I thought to myself. I will read the book and share :)

Pumpkin has never been one of my favorite vegetables,especially the pumpkins that are available here during Halloween. There are very different in texture from the pumpkins that I was used to in India which were soft when cooked and mildly sweet. When I complained to a friend about the pumpkins here she asked to add a few tsps of sugar. But no amount of sugar was able to fix the stringy texture, until a chance encounter with butternut squash. It was the answer to the pumpkin prayer and has been a regular ever since. Never experimented much with it and have been quite satisfied with stir fry and the occasional sambhar. This was until it was paired with beans, let me tell you they are a perfect match. The nutty beans and the soft squash, you have to experience it. The trick though is not to overcook the beans. But that is never a problem with cow peas.

Cowpeas with brinjals is an all time favorite. The recipe is here. With rice and a dash of ghee mmmmm. Paired with butternut squash it does not disappoint. This dish can be used as a side for chapatis but I usually do not add tamarind.

This will be going off to Sra for MLLA-17.

Cowpeas with butternut squash
1. 2 cups of diced butternut squash (substitute with any squash/pumpkin)
2. 1 cup of cowpeas cooked (pressure cook for 3 whistles with twice the amount of water) or any beans
3. 1/2 medium red onion chopped (2 tbsps)
4. 2-3 green chilies slit
5. 3-4 garlic cloves - whole
6. 2 tomatoes chopped fine
7. seasonings: mustard seeds, curry leaves
8. 1 tbsp sambhar powder or the masala paste

For the masala paste
1. 1 tbsp onion chopped
2. 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
3. 1 tbsp coconut
4. 3-4 red chilies
5. a few pepper corns
6. 1/2 tsp cumin seeds

saute the onions with a bit of oil, add the other ingredients other than coconut and let them saute for a few minutes. Add the coconut and give a good mix.
Cool and blend to a paste.

1. In a pan, heat oil and add the seasonings and then saute the onions till soft.
2. Add the garlic and green chilies and let them saute for a minute
3. Add the tomatoes and squash saute till tomatoes are soft.
4. Now add the cowpeas the masala paste or sambhar powder and a cup of water and salt and let simmer till desired consistency is reached, about 8-10 minutes

Serve with rice or any Indian bread.


  1. Both were my favorites Indo, love to make this combo. The masala paste is what looks very impressive.

  2. I just posted a sweet potato and spinach rice and thought to myself how pumpkin would taste great as well in that dish.

    I'm surprised at your comparison in the pumpkins - looking at those golden yellow specimens we see in pics, I would have thought they were much more fleshy, sweet and flavourful?! Looks are deceptive huh!
    The combination with beans looks good!

  3. I agree with the pumpking they taste much better back home, love the curry though looks delish, especially with chapathies.

  4. I read somewhere that you have to specifically look for a particular type of pumpkins for cooking or making pumpkin butter. The name escapes me right now, will let you know when I remember.

    Wonderful idea combining butternut squash with beans.

  5. Hi ISG - the butternut and beans looks perfectly delicious - and very festive served in the pretty green bowl! I found some long green brinjals this weekend and I am looking here for one of your never-fail brinjals and beans recipes :)

    Pumpkins/squash -- try hubbard squash sometime. They can be huge, but lately I see it sold in smaller pieces in the grocery store. That tastes close to what I have bought in the Chinese market as 'pumpkin' -- which, btw, I find much sweeter than squash too.

  6. I love this combination! I love butternut squash. Some how the halloween pumpkins look too big and scary to be cooked, i have never tried cooking them, always use the butternut.

  7. Can I buy cowpeas in an Indian grocery store here in the US? Also where can I find butter beans, like the one that we buy in India? Many people have recommended, lima beans instead...are they the same?

  8. What about the pumpkins at the Indian grocer's, do you get them ? The ones we get there are exactly like the ones we are used to at home.

    I started buying butternut squash for A and last week did a roast like Mandira's. It tasted fab.

    Now should try an Indian version like yours

  9. yes cowpeas are available in a few Indian groceries here. As for the butter beans I have not seen the Indian kind here, Lima beans make a good substitution.

  10. Hi I just dropped by to say 2 of ur old recipes - Hotel style sambar and tomato-carrot chutney - have become our all time favorites. I've made them many, many times and just love them. I'm visiting here after a while & realized ur blog is a treasure trove.

  11. Sandeepa, I have tried the ones from the Indian store and I guess they are the Spanish kind, don't like them that much either. Roasted butternut squash is the best ever and give the Indian recipes a try you'd be hooked.

    Supriya, that is very sweet of you and you can tell I am happy to hear it. I am glad that you like and enjoy the recipes.

  12. I love squash, this sounds like a lovely combo!

  13. I use butternut squash regularly though I have rarely paired them with beans. Sounds both unique and delightful...

  14. Indo, just's sugar pumpkin.. that's what ppl look for to make pumpkin pies and apparently thats the flavorful one.

    sugar pumpkin reminds me of our sakkarai poosani. :)

  15. I agree!The pumpkin here is stringy..They are real huge and looking at them some how fills my appetite..he he he

  16. Wow, a great recipe with butternut squash. I'll have to try this one.

  17. OMG! How did I miss out commenting on this, must have been travelling. I just had butternut squash this year and it really was v nice, had it as soup, though!


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