Friday, April 22, 2011

Curry Dahl (Lentils) with Butternut Squash

Recently a reader had asked if I had a recipe for Curry Dahl. I didn’t and honestly I’ve never been much of a fan of lentils. However, if you’re like me, you have probably eaten something at one time or another that you disliked only to have it again and say, “ok I’ve changed my mind.”With this in mind, I decided to do a little research and create a recipe.
Needless to say I am now a fan of lentils. I also think the difference with trying lentils again and liking them is because I made it and I know what is in it. Because sometimes when you have something that’s foreign to you, it can seem scary and, or unappealing. That is the beauty of making something yourself. You can season it how you want to and pair it with other things you know you already like. That is exactly what I did in the recipe below.

Traditionally, Dahl, Dal or Daal, which are all name variations commonly used, is a dish often made with lentils, peas or beans such as chick peas, black-eyed peas, etc… that have had their outer skins/husks removed. Dahl is traditionally an Indian or Sri Lankin dish, though you might also see it in other cultures as well. Dahl is a good way to bring protein to diets that have little or no meat because they are high in protein, a hearty ingredient and very affordable. Though it is commonly paired with onions and potatoes, you can add most any kind of vegetable you like including spinach, sweet potatoes or carrots to name a few. I did my recipe with potatoes, onions and butternut squash.

I love to have lots of leftovers so I made this in a large batch which serves about 8 people, but you can easily cut the recipe in half if you like. You can also switch it up and use different veggies in this recipe. You can also change the amounts of seasonings to fit your liking too. For example if you want it a little spicier try red curry or red pepper flakes. If you like ginger you could add more fresh ginger and even some chopped garlic.

Also if you cannot eat dairy, you can omit the cream or use vegan sour cream instead.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40-50 minutes

1 medium onion - chopped
2 tomato’s - chopped
1 cup green or brown lentils
2 medium potato – cut in small pieces
2 cups butternut squash – cut in small pieces
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
3 tsp vegetable oil
Salt to taste
2 heaping tsp garam masala
½ tsp coriander – if you don’t have coriander, just add more garam masala
½ tsp fresh ginger – grated or finely chopped
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp mustard seeds – powder is fine if you don’t have seeds
2 heaping tsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tbs vegetable oil
¼ cup heavy cream or plain yogurt
Chopped cilantro for garnish - optional

4-5 cups Cooked Basmati or Jasmine Rice for serving

In a large pot add lentils, potatoes and squash. Add a large pinch of salt and cover with enough water so there is about an inch above the veggies large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until lentils are al dente about 20-25 minutes – adding more water as needed.
While the lentils are cooking – In a medium sized pan, heat oil and add mustard and cumin seeds. Toast until seeds until are golden; stirring frequently about 1-2 minutes. Add onion and cook for about 2 minutes then add tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Cook another 2-3 minutes until onions are tender.

When Lentils are done, if there is a allot of liquid, drain out the excess until there is very little remaining. Set aside remaining liquid. Add in tomato sauce and all the spices. Stir well and bring mixture to simmer. If mixture seems too dry, add back in enough reserved liquid or water until it reaches your desired consistency. Simmer for 5 minutes to let the flavors bloom, stirring occasionally. Season with salt to taste. Add in onion mixture and cream; simmer another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve over rice with a little cilantro – if desired.

Roasted Squash Recipe

Roasted veggies are one of mine and my husband’s favorite things to pair with most any meal, but goes exceptionally well with the Curry Dahl recipe.
Since the butternut squash will cook slower than the yellow squash, cut the butternut squash to about half the size of the yellow.

Prep time: 10-minutes
Cook time: 20-25

4 yellow squash – cut into large pieces
3 cups butternut squash – peeled and cubed
2-3 tbs Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp curry powder

Preheat oven to 400 Cover a large baking sheet with tin foil. Place veggies on baking sheet drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on curry powder and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat veggies. Place in oven and bake until veggies are tender. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper if desired.

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