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Bowls of comfort: Tamal Ray’s squash and lentil dhansak recipe | Food

TThe excesses of December are a thing of the past, but the wind, cold and darkness remain. With no flickering fairy lights to soften the winter rigors, I switch to comfort food, and few things nourish like a bowl of fragrant lentils inspired by dhansak, one of my favorite Indian curries, featuring a gentle seasoning and sauce thickened with red. lentils. My favorite pumpkin varieties are crown prince and kabocha, but you can use butternut instead.

Dhansak from pumpkin and lentils

Save on preparation and time by using ready-made fried crispy onions from the supermarket: they taste very different from what you cook at home, but they are still very tasty.

Preparation 15 minutes
Prepare 40 min
Serves four

1 zucchini (about 1 kg)
150 ml vegetable oilas well as additionally for peeling pumpkin and ginger and garlic
550 g brown onion
peeled, halved and thinly sliced ​​(500 g)
5 garlic clovespeeled and finely chopped (15 g)
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh gingerpeeled and finely chopped (15 g)
2½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
250 g red lentils
1½ teaspoon garam masala
natural yogurt

Preheat oven to 230°C (210°C convection)/450°F/gas. 8. Cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds, then cut into crescent-shaped wedges about 2½ cm wide at the widest point. Brush with oil, season with a generous pinch of salt, then place on a large baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes until browned.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet or skillet over low to medium heat, add the onion and fry, stirring regularly to cook evenly, for 25 to 30 minutes, until the onion is a rich caramelized brown. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and let cool and brown on a plate lined with a couple of kitchen towels.

While the zucchini and onions are cooking, put a tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan and sauté the garlic and ginger over low heat for a couple of minutes until fragrant and starting to brown. Add the cumin, coriander, fennel, and turmeric, stir-fry for another minute, then add the lentils and 800ml freshly boiled water. Leave to simmer for about 20 minutes, then add half a teaspoon of salt and garam masala.

Cut the roasted pumpkin slices into 2.5cm pieces, then toss in the lentils in the pot and let simmer for another five minutes. Serve in bowls with a dash of yogurt topped with fried onions and optionally tortillas or rice for a side dish.

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