Growing up we ate lentils pretty much every day as they were nutritious, cheap, and filling. I didn’t appreciate lentils as much back then but now crave it often and miss my Mom’s cooking. My Mom tried to change things up so we didn’t get too bored with the lentils. She would find different kinds of lentils and would use different recipes to make lentils interesting. One of my favorites was fried pakoras, sometimes with vegetables or meats, that I plan to write up as a recipe in the future.
Today I am using dried chickpeas with butternut squash and carrots. This healthy stew makes a wonderful vegan/plant-based dinner for those who care about that, and for those who don’t — it still tastes great! What’s unique about this recipe is the sweetness of the squash to complement the spiciness of the other ingredients, like coriander, cumin, methi, and whole chilis.
You can use yams or kabocha squash instead of butternut squash.
This dish is slightly thick and can be served over steamed rice or a bread like naan, chapati, or parathas. If you add more water it would be a bit thinner, and pair great with some crusty bread.
- 1 1/2 cups Chana Dal (yellow split chickpea), soaked in cold water for 1 hour
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric powder
- 2 tsp. salt
- 5 cups water
- 1 tbsp. coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp. cumin seeds
- 1 tsp. fenugreek seeds or powder
- 1 tsp. black peppercorn
- 3 dried red Indian chilies or more if you want spicy
- 1.5 cups trimmed, peeled carrots, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
- 1.5 cups butternut squash, cut into cubes
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 tbsp. mince ginger
- 3/4 cup small diced yellow onion
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
- Cilantro leaves and celery leaves for serving
Wash, rinse, and drain well after soaking the lentils for an hour. Then place washed lentils, turmeric, salt, and water in a medium sized pot. Bring this to a boil over medium-high heat. Keep an eye so lentils doesn’t boil over. Once the lentils comes to a boil, cover, turn down the heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes. Skim off foam of the lentils from time to time.
Next, add carrots and butternut squash to the lentils, stir, cover and cook for another 20 minutes or until carrots are tender. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Place cumin, coriander seeds, peppercorn, dried chilies, and fenugreek seeds in a medium sized non-stick wok or frying pan. Toast the spices over medium-high heat. Toasting will be done once you can smell the spices and see a bit of color around the dried chilies. Remove the pan from the heat then set aside to cool a bit. Cut the chilies into small pieces, then place all the toasted spices in a spice grinder. Finley ground the spices, then set aside.
Heat oil in the same pan which you used to toast the spices over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic, cook for 40-50 seconds, until you see a bit of color, then add the onions, cook for 3-5 minutes or until onions are soft, adjust the heat if you see the onions are browning too fast. Add the ground spices to the cooked onion, stir, and cook for another minute or so. Then add the coconut milk, stir well, then cook for 2-3 minutes longer.
Add the coconut mixture to the cooked lentils mixture. Stir well, then place it back on the stove to heat up. Taste for seasoning. You can serve this with Indian bread like naan, paratha, or roti. Also you can serve over rice, then garnish with some celery leaves and cilantro if you like.
Did you make this dish? I’d love to know how it turns out! Feel free to like this post and comment or use the hashtag #globaldinein on Instagram. If you would to be notified of upcoming posts, please consider subscribing to my blog!