It feels like quite a while has passed between posts which has been for a good reason - a trip to Far North Queensland to thaw out my wintery bones! I'll write a bit about the holiday eats soon enough but first of all I wanted to post about something I discovered whilst clearing the fridge out before going away.
Half a chunk of pumpkin plus a yearning for some Indian led me to search for a pumpkin dal recipe. After reading through a couple of recipes, I settled upon making a version of one that I found on Vegan Culinary Crusade, a vegan blog I hadn't heard of before.
The pumpkin pieces were roasted in the oven the night before (whilst other baking was going on), then mashed into a puree. I decided to tweak a few of the spices to my liking and used the juice from half a large lemon rather than a lime. My initial thought was to serve this with some stuffed cabbage flatbreads I had seen on Allotment2Kitchen not long ago, however this was too ambitious with other holiday cooking preparations going on so I had a last minute change of mind and served the dal with our old faithful punjabi cabbage instead.
Over the years I have cooked countless different dals on so many occasions and the man sadly hasn't been very fond of them for a while. I was very pleased that he did enjoy this dal as did my son and I. The addition of a souring agent like lemon or lime juice in a dal brings out a different dimension of flavour that all three of us enjoyed a great deal. And anything with spinach is always popular too!
1 cup red lentils
2 cups water
1 teaspoon vegetable stock powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pumpkin puree
Juice of 1/2 lemon
100g baby spinach leaves
Rinse the red lentils in a strainer until the water runs clear then place them in a saucepan with the water, vegetable stock powder and turmeric. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to the lowest possible and simmer, covered for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a frying pan on a medium flame. Add the mustard seeds and when then begin to pop, stir through the onion and fry for 5-10 minutes until the onions are translucent and begin to brown. Add the cumin, chilli powder, garam masala and salt, stir the spices through the onions evenly and cook for about 2 minutes.
Mix the onions and spices through the lentils then stir in the pumpkin puree, lemon juice and spinach. Turn off the heat when the spinach has wilted and serve with rice.