ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH TARKA DHAL

We all see them in the supermarkets; those oblong, pale egg shell coloured squash, the question is… “What an earth would I do with one?” Well, here is the perfect recipe which celebrates this seasonal vegetable by crafting a symphony of flavour with exotic indian spices.

 

One word: yum! Yum, is all that is needed to describe this dish; as if it were a choreographed dance routine that had made it into the big leagues in West End and Piccadilly Circus – then invited to waltz in your mouth. Through prodigious chemistry and time in the kitchen – my master forte – I bring to you a meal which is wholesome and healthy, easy, great for meal prep as well as even giving you time to sprawl your legs on the couch as  you languidly return from work.

INSIGHT

Lentils are the little gems of any wholefood diet; on the side of macronutrients they contain staggering amounts of protein, fibre and complex carbohydrates:

A single serving provides you with 32% of your daily fibre intake, 1 cup of cooked lentils provides you with 18g of protein, as well as the carbohydrates to stabilize blood sugar and supply longer lasting and more efficient energy. In term, you can guarantee they will keep you satiated to prevent you from wandering to the cupboard for the open packet of biscuits!

On a micronutrient scale, lentils help to boost red blood cell production by containing 43% RDI of vitamin B6 (folate) per 1/2 cup. In addition to Iron, zinc, thiamin and copper, lentils also hold high levels of calcium and phosphorus – vital for the maintenance and growth of your bones.

Studies such as the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that increasing your intake of legumes such as lentils helps to lower LDL cholesterol. Another study on obesity found that lentils may help to manage obesity, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

In consideration of these energy powerhouses, I think if Jack and The Beanstalk included any variety of beans or legumes, they probably would have been lentils. 🙂

As mentioned, one of the reasons I love this recipe is because of its efficiency for meal prep. The recipe below contains four servings – of which you could cook in one go for yourself and your family, or simply divide into glass containers and freeze for a frigid day. However, if you have a particularly large butternut squash or include whole grains such as wild rice or quinoa, this recipe could easily be stretched to five serving to deliver you with one gourmet meal for each day of the working week.

It’s important to mention that a whole butternut squash will be required to be roasted on the beforehand. This has proven, for me, to be the best way to cook squash as more of the natural sugars are able to caramelise creating creamy, tender, sweet flesh – with edible skin. I advise you to cook the squash the evening before or during the morning, as this will allow time for it cool as well as for you to get on with other things as you will not need to linger over the oven for an entire hour!

Honestly, I cannot approve of this recipe enough and it has constantly been on my cooking roter for weeks. One factor I find joyously different about this sumptuous dhal, was the creamier consistency – in comparison to tomato based dhals which you will find sitting in a puddle by the time you take them to the table; oh. I can proudly state that this recipe has been tried and tested to give you the perfect result that you will enjoy.

Finally, if you make and enjoy this recipe, please tag me via instagram or facebook so I can see your delicious recreations! For any questions you have please feel free to comment or email me, but currently I think I’m just going to enjoy my cup of tea before I devour the rest of that roasted butternut squash tarka dhal. 🙂

Roasted Butternut Squash Tarka Dhal

Oozy and luxurious, this meal is great for the coming winter months and with a subtle heat counteracted by the coconut - it is an ultimate win win!
Course Dinner
Cuisine Indian
Keyword butternut squash, curry, lentils, tarka dhal
Prep Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4 People

Ingredients

  • 1 Butternut squash, small *
  • 200 g red lentils, dried
  • 1 tbsp creamed coconut
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 thumb ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 bunch of coriander
  • 1 lime
  • 1 large red onion
  • Sea salt
  • groundnut oil

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°f/ 180°c (Fan 160°c). Scrub clean your butternut squash and remove the stem by carefully inserting a knife where it meets the squash. Place the whole squash on a baking tray in the center of the oven and allow it to roast for 1½ hours. *
  • Turn off the oven and remove the squash from the oven once tender through, browned and caramelized; placing the squash to one side allow it to cool for 10 - 15 minutes. Now slice the squash into eighths, then dice the lengths and place these to one side.
  • Finely slice the onion and garlic, then deseed and dice the red chilli. Peel away the skin on the ginger with a teaspoon, then also finely dice and set to one side.
  • Add 1 tbsp of groundnut oil to a large saucepan over a medium heat, then add in the onion. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes until the onion is fragrant and beginning to caramelize. Add the garlic, chilli and ginger to the pan, now sauteing with the onion for a further two minutes. Once infused add all of the spices and fry for approximately 30 seconds,
  • Now add the red lentils with 3 cups of water to the saucepan, bringing the mixture to a boil. Placing the lid on, reduce the heat still maintaining a boil for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, finely chop the coriander stalks leaving some leaves for garnish, placing the remainder in a jar in the refrigerator for another day.
  • Now place the diced squash, coriander stalks and creamed coconut in with the lentils. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime and add a pinch of sea salt.
  • Replace the lid to the saucepan and allow the dhal to simmer for a further 10 minutes or until pourable yet oozy, ensuring nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  • Now you may further break up the squash with a spatula to achieve a more combined, creamier texture - if you wish too. Serve up with a garnish of coriander, lime juice and on a majestic bed of greens! Enjoy!

Notes

* I recommend roasting your squash in advance, otherwise it may not only be hot to         prepare but increase the kitchen time unwantedly. If your squash is of greater size         then feel free to roast it and withhold a 1/4 from the recipe - you can use this in             soups, salads, breakfasts or even desserts.

“Lentils are perhaps the world's most versatile, indestructible food"

Beth Fantaskey

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