If this is the first recipe you turned to in this book because you love lime pickle so dearly, welcome. You have found a kindred spirit in me. For the uninitiated, lime pickle is hot, salty, and with so much punch that you’ll be left trying desperately to open your eyes for a minute after your first bite. That being said, when it is stirred through rice and accompanied by sweet roast squash and red onions, its wings are clipped, in a good way. Serve to other pickle lovers, with more lime pickle on the side.

Serves 4 as a main course

1 large butternut squash (around 2 pounds)
canola oil
salt and ground black pepper
1¼ cups basmati rice
1 tablespoon ghee or unsalted butter
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon nigella seeds
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
1 large red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons good lime pickle, like Patak’s
4 scallions, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a couple of roasting pans with foil.

Cut the squash in half lengthways, seed, then slice into ¾-inch-thick semicircles. Drizzle with just enough oil to coat the pieces and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Place on the trays and roast for around 40 minutes, until cooked through and starting to color.

Wash the rice in a few changes of cold water. When the water runs clear, leave to soak in cold water for 20 minutes, or in warm water for 10 minutes. Drain the rice and transfer to a deep saucepan. Cover with plenty of cold water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a fast simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until the rice is tender and not chalky. Drain, then cover with a clean tea towel and leave to steam until needed.

Put a large frying pan over medium heat and, when hot, add the ghee, followed by the sliced garlic and the spices. Stir-fry until the garlic turns golden and sticky, then add the red onion. Cook for around 10 minutes, until the onion is soft and starting to brown, then add the pickle and season with salt to taste. Stir and add the roast squash. When the squash is warmed through, add the rice and stir to mix. When hot, take off the heat and sprinkle the scallions over the top.

Serve with a bowl of yogurt and a salad.