From Bangladesh, this recipe is considered a ‘bharat’, part relish or condiment/part side dish. It’s good either way. One of the ingredients is asafetida powder, also known as hing, which is a powdered gum resin with a pungent garlic and onion flavor. It is available in Indian markets or sections of a supermarket. As a sub, for 1/4 t of asafetida, use 1/4 t onion powder plus 1/4 t garlic powder, or a clove of garlic, minced, and a T of chopped onion; or, a minced shallot, though with this latter you are moving away from culinary authenticity.
2 T vegetable oil (mustard oil, for authenticity)
1/4 asafetida, or listed subs
1/2 t mustard seeds; or scant 1/2 t mustard powder, or 1 1/2 t prepared mustard
4 c peeled, cubed butternut (or other winter) squash
1/4 c water, broth, or stock
3/4 t salt
1 1/2 t sugar
1/8 – 1/4 t cayenne powder, or to taste
1 – 2 T plain yogurt or heavy cream or sour cream
2 T chopped cilantro or parsely
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the asafetida and mustard seeds, stirring to coat with the oil. As soon as the mustard seeds start to pop, add the squash. (If using the fresh garlic-onion combination, cook for a couple of minutes before adding the mustard seeds.)
2. Cook the squash, stirring, for a few minutes, until the pieces start to brown some. Stir in the water, turn the heat to low, cover, and cook until the squash is tender, about 10 minutes or so, depending on the size of the cubes.
3. Add the salt, sugar, cayenne, and yogurt. Continue to cook, stirring, for a few minutes more until the yogurt is absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro. Serve warm as a side, or cooled as a relish.