I have made many many many many dals in my life (or dhal, daal, dahl, dal, dall – I have made many, but still have no idea what the correct way of spelling the thing is!) but have never included butternut pumpkin in them until recently. I can honestly say I will never make a dal without adding it again. I feel like it is a really obvious addition, but for some reason, I just never have tried it before.
The pumpkin, because you chop it into small pieces, cooks down and creates the ultimate creaminess. Then on top of that, by adding coconut milk, the flavours work together to create a hug from the best dog on the planet, in food form.
This really is the real dal (sorry) and I will never go back.
You can also, if you prefer, take this up a level and add some kind of tofu/mock chicken pieces and it can even be passed off as a dhansak, which incidentally was my favourite chicken curry before going the V word.
Health wise, this is loaded with protein, fibre, good quality fat (which can be lowered using light coconut milk if preferred), a variety of nutrient dense vegetables AND it is really cheap.
Welcome to my new favourite lunch.
(p.s. I am aware lentils aren’t really beans, but don’t be THAT person, you’re better than that!!!)
Nutritional Information (rice not included):
- Calories = 318
- Protein = 19g
- Fat = 11.1g
- Saturated Fat = 8.6g
- Carbohydrate = 30.6g
- Cholesterol = 0g
- 2 cups (375g) split red lentils, rinsed
- 400g butternut pumpkin, peeled and diced into 1cm cubes
- 2 small onions, sliced
- Thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 red chilli, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 400ml can coconut milk
- 5 cups water
- 1 large handful baby spinach leaves
- 1 batch coriander, chopped
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon dried chillies
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper
- Heat a large casserole type dish over a medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of water
- Add the onion and pumpkin and fry for 5 minutes, stirring regularly
- Add the cumin seeds and fry for a further 5 minutes, continuing to stir regularly
- Add the chilli, ginger and garlic and fry for 2 minutes
- Rinse your lentils and add them to the pan along with the dried spices
- Pour in the coconut milk, water and chuck in a couple of bay leaves from across the room, or wherever you happen to be. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for 25 minutes. If it gets too dry, which it shouldn’t, add a small amount of water
- Add a large handful of spinach, stir and simmer for a final 5 minutes
- Remove the bay leaves, add the chopped coriander and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper
- Serve over cooked brown rice and chuck some cooked broccoli in there too
- Get it into ya!