This Butternut Squash Cashew Korma is savory, creamy, and just a bit spicy! Inspired by ingredients made by Brooklyn Delhi and the Vibrant India cookbook by Chitra Agrawal.
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I grew up in a very traditional, white, “meat-and-potatoes” family. Let me preface this by saying that there’s nothing wrong with that. But I’m sure it goes without saying that I was not exposed to food from many other cultures growing up, expect for mainstream U.S. cultural staples like Chinese-American food, Italian-American, Japanese-American, etc. I didn’t try sushi until I was 17. The first time I saw Indian food, I was about 19. My friend Jared had gotten Indian takeout with his boyfriend, and I was intoxicated by the delicate savory scents. I tried a bit of his mango lassi, and it was incredible. And then when I was 25 when I first tried Thai food, and 26 when I first tried Vietnamese (thanks to my cousin Laura).
I’m not exactly proud to share these statistics. I’m definitely a small-town girl (and I love that and appreciate the beauty in my surroundings), but one thing that I feel like I missed out on was the food scene. Cities like Boston or NYC have so many amazing options that small towns in Connecticut don’t.
So when Chitra Agrawal reached out to me in 2017 about her cookbook, Vibrant India, I was so excited to see the recipes. First, this book is aesthetically stunning. The photography is exceptional, and the book contains many Indian designs and motifs that are incredibly gorgeous. But second, reading through this cookbook through the years has opened my eyes to so many exciting and delicious flavor combinations that I’ve never tried before.
Pillowy soft, warm chapatis straight from the pan. Cool, delicately spiced raita, or yogurt-based sauce. Sour and spicy tomato bele rasam, a tomato lentil soup. And here – a creamy, rich, spicy Butternut Squash Cashew Korma. These are flavors you’ll crave again and again!
For this recipe, I wanted to pay homage to Chitra’s lens of cooking, which features many plant-based ingredients as opposed to the traditional dairy. Her line of condiments from Brooklyn Delhi are second to none. This is what I used for the recipe:
Guntur Sannam Pepper Hot Sauce – a hot tomato and chili sauce
Coconut Cashew Korma Sauce – a mild, vegan simmering sauce
While my recipe isn’t an authentic korma, I’m using the term in my recipe to give a frame of reference for what the recipe will be like. The term “korma” derives from the Urdu word “qormā”, or “braise”, and can be traced back to India since the 16th century. Korma is often made with meat, but in keeping with the vegetarian theme in Vibrant India, I’ve made this recipe completely vegan with butternut squash as the central ingredient. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!
You can buy Vibrant India by Chitra Agrawal here!
Butternut Squash Cashew Korma
- 2 Tbs Avocado Oil
- 1/2 White Onion
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1/2 Cup Cashews
- 28 oz Can of Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
- 2 Tbs Brooklyn Delhi Hot Sauce
- 1 Cup Brooklyn Delhi Korma Sauce
- 1 1/2 Lbs Chopped Butternut Squash raw, cut into 1" cubes
- 1 Cup Can Full-Fat Coconut Milk
- Salt and Pepper add as you go
- Sliced jalapeños
- Extra Coconut Milk
- Unsweetened Coconut Yogurt
- Bring the avocado oil to medium heat in a large pot. Then, add in the onion and garlic and sauté for about 1-2 minutes. Add a little bit of salt and pepper while you do this.
- Add in the cashews and hot sauce and sauté for another minute or so.
- Then, add in the can of fire-roasted tomatoes, korma sauce, coconut milk, and smoked paprika. Stir well, then add in your chopped butternut squash, and stir again so that the squash is completely coated.
- Cover the pot with a lid and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. After the time has passed, stir the korma well. Carefully taste a bit of the korma and add more salt if needed.
- Cover the pot again and simmer for another 20-30 minutes, or until the butternut squash is fork-tender. This may vary based on how large you cut your butternut squash, so check often.
- When done, scrape any burnt parts from the bottom of the pot and stir them into the korma. Add in a squeeze of lemon juice and stir.
- Serve the butternut squash korma piping hot in bowl, topped with coconut milk or any toppings you like.
- I added in the Brooklyn Delhi Guntur Sannam Pepper hot sauce, but you either omit the hot sauce for less spice, or use another Indian-spiced hot sauce.
- A delicious addition to this recipe is naan bread. Most grocery stores carry them, and sometimes have whole wheat or garlic varieties. For a vegetarian twist, add on a bit of cheese to the naan and broil them in the oven until the cheese is melted. You can also use vegan cheese!
- This recipe is inspired by Chitra Agrawal's unique cooking ethos as described in the Vibrant India cookbook and seen in her Brooklyn Delhi line, which adds a modern twist to classic Indian recipes by focusing on vegan and dairy-free ingredients.
For more vegan and vegetarian recipes and meal inspiration, be sure to follow along on Instagram @wellandfull! If you make a recipe, please tag me in the photo and use the hashtag #wellandfull so I can see! I love seeing your creations!