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This curry is full of big, bold, clean, clear flavours. I love the strength of its colour “ it looks warm and inviting, happy and confident on the plate. It is good eaten with any type of flat bread and a tangle of blanched chard or spinach leaves dressed with a squeeze of lime juice and a drop or two of olive oil. Onion squash comes into season early September and is around right through the autumn. It is not the sweetest of the squash varieties, but it has a richness and depth of flavour that is quite unique. Dont bother to peel off the skin “ it is best left on.

+ Ingredients

1 medium onion squash
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 red onion, peeled and finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 green chilli, chopped (seeds left in)
10 curry leaves
Bunch of coriander, roots and stalks finely sliced, leaves reserved for garnish
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp caster sugar, or to taste
15“20 ripe little tomatoes, such as San Marzano
340g jar (or tinned) good-quality peeled plum tomatoes

250ml coconut milk (fresh or tinned)

+ Method

Using a large, very sharp knife, slice through the middle of the onion squash. Scoop out the seeds using a spoon, then slice into 5cm wedges and set aside.

Place a heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the oil and when it is warm, add the onion. Lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, chilli, curry leaves and the coriander roots and stalks, and continue to cook gently.

Meanwhile, warm a small, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, add the mustard and fennel seeds and cook until they just begin to pop “ the heat will tickle out their. Remove from the heat and pound to a powder, using a pestle and mortar. Add to the onion curry base, stir to combine and cook gently for a further 5 minutes.

Add the onion squash, stir again and cook for 10 minutes, then add the sugar and lime juice. It is really important to get the balance of flavours right at this stage, so now is the time to taste and assess. The curry should be pleasantly (not aggressively) hot; sweet (but not sickly); sour (but not so much that it makes you squint); and salty enough to underpin and ground the dish.

Once you feel the flavours are just right, add the little ripe tomatoes “ squishing them slightly between your fingers as you do so, to help them release their lovely flavour. Add the jar of plum tomatoes, too. Cook for a further 20“25 minutes until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork. Pour in the coconut milk and cook for a final 5 minutes or so.

The tomato and coconut milk enrich the curry, giving it a depth and smoothness that complete the dish. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. Reheat the curry gently and thoroughly when you are ready to serve. Like many wet dishes, this one improves in flavour if allowed to cool and sit before reheating.

Serves 4