This is the one dish for which I cannot say that I am going to make this again and again. Because the basic ingredient that is the pattypan or sunburst squash is not available in India. I first saw these pretty things at PJ’s Ginger and Garlic. And really wished if I could have laid my hands on these. Hardly did I knew that soon I will be able to cook with them.
In Bangkok the place that we stayed was one of the most busiest tourist destination (read preferred by foreigners) and has many super markets and International brands catering to their needs. Our hotel’s next door Villa market is one such place. Ranging from readymade pie crust to imported berries they store everything for their cherished ‘farangs (foreigners in Thai Language). I went there on my first day itself to pick few bottles of drinking water and just got hooked to this place. Hubby was quite agitated when after dinner I wanted to go and check the place once again. He wanted to sleep and I wanted to shop so when he went back to the hotel with the baby I spent close to an hour checking all their products. And just after midnight tiptoed to my hotel room with two bagfuls of baking pans.
That was the beginning of my cookery related shopping which ended on our last day. when I shopped for many perishable items like snowpeas, sunburst squash, vareties of cheese, kaffir lime leaves etc.
I really dint have any idea how to cook these beautiful vegetables and I dint want to chop or slice them to cook in a curry. Though the taste of the squash in itself is nothing to write home about but their beauty demands respect. So I planned to cook them whole by stuffing and baking them with soy granules and parmesan cheese. The final dish tasted awesome and who says beauty without brain (/taste) is not desirable? See my little one who insisted that his mother finishes the shooting as soon as possible so that he can gobble up his share. Such excitement over a vegetable???
If you get this squash at your part of the world try making something like this. It tastes good and as someone so rightly mentioned
'Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting.' ...Ralph Waldo Emerson
Soy Stuffed Pattypan Squash
Pattypan squash: 3 pieces (I got the size that fits within my palm. Don’t have any idea how big they could be)
Soy chunks: 10-12 pieces
Onion: 1 medium
Grated potato: 11/2 tbsp
Garlic: 1 fat clove
Lemon juice: 1 tsp
Chili powder: 1/3 tsp
Grated parmesan cheese: 4 tbsp
Olive Oil: 1 tbsp
Dried oregano or thyme: ¼ tsp
Soak the soy granules in enough water for 10 minutes.
Cut a small portion off the top of the squash. With a small spoon scoop out the soft flesh and seeds from inside. You will end up with a neat shell. Chop up the flesh and keep aside.
Boil a bowl of water with a pinch of salt and cook the squash for 1 minute. Take out, drain the water and keep aside.
In the same boiling water now add the squeezed soy granules. Cook till they are double in size (3-5 minutes depending on the size). Drain the water and wash under running water. Squeeze and chop them in fine pieces. Keep aside.
Chop the onion and garlic very finely.
Heat oil in a pan and start by adding the chopped onion. Once its golden in colour add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the potato, chopped squash flesh and chopped soy chunks. Season with salt and chili powder and mix well. Cover and let it cook for 3-4 minutes or till the potatoes are soft and everything amalgamates well. Once done add the lemon juice and dried herbs. Mix well and let it cool. Then mix half of the grated cheese to this.
Pre heat the oven at 180 C. grease a small baking pan with olive oil.
Brush the pattypans with olive oil. Stuff with the soy mixture and place on the baking tray. Cover the open top with more cheese and a pinch of chili flakes. Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on the size. Once cooked the skin of the squash will crinkle and the cheese will melt to perfection.
A Homemaker’s tips:
I would love to see how they turn out if a whole egg is broken inside the squash shell and then baked with little salt and chili flakes on top. If anybody ever has tried this please let me know.
Cooking this way with pattypan squash have unlimited possibilities. One can substitute with chicken or paneer too.
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