It’s January. Time to break open a winter squash. Home-grown squash will store in a cool dry environment for up to 6 months. So they’re there just when you need them. There’s also a fantastic variety of winter squash in the shops these days…..
A spicy winter squash and dal recipe that melts in the mouth, and revives the spirits.
Winter Squash and Lentil Dal.
A South Asian Dish.
And here’s how to cook really nice rice: every time…
WINTER SQUASH AND RED LENTIL DAL
- Approx. 800gms. winter squash : such as butternut, turban, hubbard, crown prince (all have a dense golden flesh with a sweet nutty flavour)
- 1.5 tbs. hot oil e.g. vegetable ghee, rapeseed oil
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- juice of 1 lemon
- 225gms. red split lentils
- 1tsp. cumin seeds
- 2 tsps. coriander seeds
- 1-3 tsps. chilli powder (up to you.. you know how much chilli you like 🙂 )
- 1.5 tsps. turmeric
- 1.5 tsps. salt
- 0.5 tsp. fenugreek seeds
- 1 tsp. black mustard seeds
- 2 tbs. hot oil
- 1L hot water (+ a little extra if the dahl gets too thick)
- 1 large onion
- 2cm. ginger
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tsp. chilli flakes
- 1tbs. oil/ghee
- Peel, deseed, wash and cut the squash into chunks, approx. 2cm.
- Finely chop 3 garlic cloves.
- In a wide pan, add 1.5 tbs. hot oil/ghee on a medium heat.
- Add squash and fry 5 mins. Turning occasionally.
- Add finely chopped garlic and fry for a further 3-5 mins.
- Add juice of 1 lemon, stir in.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Wash lentils thoroughly.
- Grind cumin seeds, coriander seeds, chilli, turmeric, fenugreek and salt to a fine powder.
- In a deep casserole, add 2 tbs. oil/ghee, on a medium/high heat.
- Add mustard seed.
- When mustard seeds pop (30 secs.) – add washed lentils.
- Fry 3- 5 mins. Stir to prevent burning.
- On a medium low heat add ground spices and stir constantly to avoid burning. 2 -3 mins.
- Add 1L hot water.
- Bring to boil and boil hard 5 mins.
- Reduce heat to medium.
- Add fried squash.
- Return to a gentle boil, then cover, reduce heat to minimum (use a diffuser if necessary) and cook on a very low heat for between an hour and an hour and a half. The squash must be tender, and the dal soft and creamy. The slower it cooks, the better the flavour. (Add a little extra hot water if it gets too thick)
During the last 10 mins, prepare the tarka:
- Finely chop the onions.
- Finely grate ginger.
- Crush garlic.
- In a hot frying pan, add 1 tbs. oil/ghee.
- On a high heat, fry finely chopped onions 5-8 mins.
- Add ginger, garlic and chilli flakes.
- 5 mins. before serving, tip the sizzling tarka into the dahl. Stir in.
Serve piping hot with rice/chapati/ non-dairy yogurt/chutney/pickle…and a scattering of fresh coriander leaves…