Making Indian food at home is a small triumph in itself. All the mysterious ingredients and pastes. No matter how many times we go, I cannot sleuth out our local Indian restaurant’s secret recipes. But maybe that’s what I like about cooking Indian food. It’s a challenge, and sometimes I get right. Most times it’s more complicated than it seems. But this Butternut Squash Dal recipe is far from difficult. Dal refers to any sort of Indian split pea curry, and I am thankful for the looseness of this term. Is it Indian? Yes. Is it made with split peas? Yes. Then it’s a good dal. This simple curry only takes 30 minutes to throw together!
I only recently discovered lentils, but when I did I realized how versatile they are! You can use any sort of lentil, chana or split pea for this recipe and it will be great, but I’ll tell you now, red lentils are my favorite. These yellow split peas were perfect in this traditional Indian Dal. the sweetness of the squash was a nice addition. I love squash in curry. Let’s get started on this recipe!
First you’ll prep your squash. Cut off each end and peel it with a vegetable peeler. Then slice it longways and remove the seeds with a spoon. Cut the squash into cubes and place on a baking sheet with a drizzle of oil like grapeseed oil. Bake this for about 15-20 minutes.
While your squash is cooking, caramelize your onions in the pan. Then add all your spices and toast them for a couple minutes. Then add the split peas, tomatoes, coconut milk and water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the split peas are tender. During the last ten minutes of cooking, add your squash.
Serve hot and topped with cilantro and lime wedges and served with some bread or naan.
This is one easy way to make curry. See the full recipe below.
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil or ghee
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
- 2 yellow onions, diced
- 1 two inch ginger root, peeled and minced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ tsp coriander
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2½ tsp curry powder
- 1½ cups lentils or split peas
- 1 14 oz can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 14 oz can coconut milk
- 3 cups water
- cilantro and lime juice for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Dice the squash and add to a baking sheet with one tbsp of the oil. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until squash is fork tender.
- While the squash is in the oven, in a large dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat, add the remaining tbsp of oil or ghee. Add the onions and saute, stirring frequently, until browned, about 8-10 minutes. If it's getting too dark or burning add a couple tbsp of water and stir. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for another two minutes. Add the coriander, cumin, red pepper flakes, mustard seeds, turmeric, chili powder, salt, and curry powder. Stir into the onions and cook one minute. Add in the split peas, tomatoes, coconut milk and water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes. Add the squash to the pot and simmer for ten more minutes.
- Serve with cilantro and lime wedges.