Recipe by Clare Mcelhatton.
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No onions are needed in this quick & easy dhal, as the pumpkin/squash adds enough richness and sweetness to the lentils. Sorrel, which has a lemony flavour, can be swapped for spinach, kale or cabbage with a little squeeze of lemon juice at the end. Any mix of spices can be used for this.
Around 120g Red lentils or chana dal (any lentils really!)
Around 100g Pumpkin/squash flesh
1tsp brown mustard seed
1 tsp cumin seed
2 tsp curry leaves
1 tsp garam masala
1 dry chilli or 1 tsp chill flakes
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp Ginger fresh or frozen
1 tbsp Garlic fresh or frozen
3-4 large sorrel leaves or a handful of cabbage, kale or spinach
Optional: butter/vegan alternative
Cut the squash flesh into large chunks and cover with water in a saucepan.
Finely chop, mince or grate the ginger and garlic.
Cook on a medium heat until it is very…squashy
Blend to a puree with a stick blender, or use a fork/rolling pin/potato masher to get the squash smooth- it will resemble mango puree
Taste and add salt and pepper to taste
Meanwhile, cook the lentils according to instructions until very soft and starting to become mushy
Add the ginger and garlic to the lentils while they cook
Add the pumpkin puree. Stir through and keep on a low heat
Alternatively, cook the pumpkin with the lentils. Make sure there is enough water that it doesn’t stick but not so much it becomes watery. When soft, stir/mash well so the pumpkin becomes incorporated into the lentils.
In a small frying, add 2-3 tbsp of oil and heat slightly. Add the chilli, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Heat until the spices start to sizzle and become aromatic.
Add the garam masala and cook for a few seconds
Add the tomato puree and stir into the oil and spices. Cook for a couple of minutes (until it changes colour)
Add the spiced oil to the lentil and squash and stir though
Taste- add salt to season. Add the sorrel (or spinach and lemon). Cook for a couple of minutes until it wilts
If the dhal needs extra seasoning, more spices can be heated in oil and added.
For extra richness, stir through a knob of butter
Serve with bread, rice or a chopped salad.