Squash with Cardamom and Nigella Seeds

The last of the basket of butternut squash harvested in the fall was finally put into another inviting dish among all the wonderful squash dishes posted earlier since September. Over the weeks, I’ve found out that storing squashes in a cool place did wonder in intensifying their flavor.

The citrus flavor of cardamom balances exquisitely with the sweetness of squash. I won’t have thought of putting the two together. The other Middle Eastern spices of cumin, coriander, turmeric and cinnamon literally dance in your mouth as a single unifying note, creating a warm and exciting dish that competes well with any holiday dishes. After one bite, you would never think twice about using vegetables as a main dish. Who says vegetables have to be boring. This squash with cardamon dish delights the senses and wins me over.

I had a difficult time finding nigella seeds, one of the ingredients in this recipe, in my neighborhood. I asked around for leads. The fact that nigella seeds are a confusing spice, and go by many names, does not help. In India, where nigella seeds are grown, they are known as kalonji. In the U.S, they are called charnushka. They are also frequently, and mistakenly, called black onion seeds, black cumin and black caraway. However, they have no relationship to onion, cumin or caraway, and are very much their own spice. Guess what, a bottle of nigella seeds from Sainsbury’s (of UK) magically showed up on my doorstep. Remarkably, while not totally surprised, my dear friend (and angel) R brought it back from a recent trip to London. I was dumbfounded that Christmas came early this year!

No one would have mistaken the signature vibrant touches of Yotam Ottolenghi all over this dish. This recipe is another one of Ottolenghi’s creations from his book Plenty More. Serve it with risotto or rice. Dinner is complete.


Squash is twice cooked on stovetop and oven


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  • Reply
    Lydia Filgueras
    December 24, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Luscious flavors in this dish!

  • Reply
    Chef Mireille
    December 26, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    love all the spices in this – must be so flavorful

  • Reply
    December 27, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Those nigella seeds showed up just in time. Lovely looking dish and I find it's hard to go wrong with squash.

  • Reply
    kitchen flavours
    December 28, 2015 at 2:19 am

    This dish looks delicious! Love the combination of flavours! I could finish it all on it's own. Yum!

  • Reply
    Joyce Rachel Lee-Bates
    December 30, 2015 at 3:01 am

    I've never seen nigella seeds although I've heard about them. Interesting dish and I believe this is a really delicious dish!

  • Reply
    Deb in Hawaii
    December 30, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    The cardamom and the mix of other spices in here sounds fabulous. I have a tin of nigella seeds just waiting in my pantry. 😉

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