No one gets excited about zucchini.
It is just zucchini, after all. So naturally, zucchini curry is rarely served at Pakistani dinner parties, or dawats, as we call them. It’s a summer weeknight kind of dish, one that children grumble at while their parents insist they try another bite of.
But sometimes at dinner parties at our place, we serve this zucchini curry among the usual spread of biryani and the like. Guests will put a little on their plates out of courtesy, curiosity or maybe just for friendship’s sake. And what happens afterward is interesting.
They taste a bit of it, act perplexed, and question if it’s really zucchini in the curry. While complimenting the unique taste, and while probably still mentally doubting the contents of the curry, they reach for seconds. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, people want more zucchini.
This zucchini curry is unique because my husband invented this recipe. He just made it up. In fact, the recipe barely makes sense. He adds turmeric at the end. He uses excessive amounts of oil. He makes sure the end product bears little resemblance to the original
vegetable fruit. But whatever he does works, because this zucchini curry is good enough to steal the show at dinner parties. I’ve tried to make it my way, but I must confess, setting my passionate food-enthusiast/cook/blogger ego aside, his way is better.
Zucchini in curry form works well because Zucchini is 95% water and therefore is excellent at absorbing spices. It’s full of fiber, minerals and is naturally low in calories. I hope this recipe gets you excited about zucchini..maybe even as much as our dinner guests. 😉
Pakistani Zucchini (Courgette) Curry | Toriyan (Torai ki Sabzi)
- 1/3 cup grapeseed canola or other neutral oil
- 2 medium onions thinly sliced
- 5-6 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 inch piece ginger crushed
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 medium tomato cubed
- 1 tsp salt or more to taste
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder or to taste
- 3 large 1 to 1 1/4 lb green zucchini squash, washed, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch half-moons
- 1 small green chili pepper sliced
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro for garnish
Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions, and sauté until they are light golden, about 5-7 minutes.
Lower the heat to medium and add the garlic, ginger and cumin seeds. Sauté until the raw smell of the ginger and garlic disappears, about 20-30 seconds. Add the cubed tomatoes, salt, coriander powder, black pepper powder, and red chili powder. Sauté for a minute, then stir in the zucchini and 1/4 cup of water. Mix well, ensuring that the zucchini is well coated.
Cover and let cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring once or twice in between. Once most of the water has dried up, use a wooden spoon to break the zucchini into pieces. Add the sliced green chili pepper and turmeric and sauté for a few minutes.
Lower the heat to the lowest setting, cover and continue to cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring half-way. If you’re afraid it will stick to the pan, you can add just a bit of water. Uncover and stir well. When the water has completely dried up and it the zucchini is very well cooked, remove from heat and garnish with cilantro, if desired. It is typically eaten with roti or naan but you can serve it with any type of bread or even rice.