Lentils and Butternut Squash Curry

Several years ago, my roommate at the time, introduced me to curry. It was love at the first bite. We made so many curry dishes that one day we noticed that her cat fur smelled like curry! Since then, I made many different curry dishes and each time I start smelling the spices warming up in oil I am in my happy place.

There is as many curry flavor as there are cooks. Curry is a mixture of many spices and for the dish I am sharing today, I’ll be using “Madras” curry. This will be a mild curry and therefore kids friendly. I personally like mine spicier and might share my version another day.

lentil and butternut squash curry

Ingredients

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 can of dice tomatoes
  • 1 cup of green lentils
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or butter)
  • 3 1/2 cup salted water

lentil and butternut squash curry

Bring the lentils and the squashed to a boil in the salted water ( don’t worry about over-salting it will be drained and rinsed), reduce to medium and let it simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 min or until the lentil and squash are tender. While the lentils and squash are cooking, in medium size pot fry the onion, the curry powder and cumin seeds in oil until they become fragrant. Add the can of tomatoes and simmer on medium heat until onion are cooked. Drained and rinse the cooked lentils and squash and add to the curry pot, heat trough and it’s ready to serve.

This dish is better served with Naan, Roti or over basmati rice.

lentil curry

lentil curry

lentil curry

Tips : Not cooking the tomatoes with the lentils can be a bit of a pain and yes one more pot to clean, but the acidity of the tomatoes will prevent the lentil to fully cook.

Note for the pictures I did add some plain yogurt but this is optional and will not affect the taste to go without. 

Quick and easy Curry Dahl

I think that we often daydream about visiting foreign destinations, to soak in the culture, visit scenery that otherwise we couldn’t fully appreciate, and of course experience the smell and taste of the local cuisine. Not all of us have the opportunities to travel the world, but we are so fortunate to be in the day and age of electronic information. With a simple click on the fingers we and be transported via the web to locations thousands miles away, all from the comfort of our own home.

We also have the options to taste international cuisine in specialty restaurant, but if you want to stay within a simple budget, you can recreate the taste of the far away land right here in your kitchens.

Dahl

When I think of curry dishes, India, comes to mind. The fragrance of roasting curry powder, cumin seeds, ginger, and butter at the start of your curry dishes will transport you to a whole new world.

Lentils are a staples in South Asian cuisine but also are found throughout the world. Did you know that Canada is the number one exporter of lentils, farmers for the prairies are each years making their contribution helping numerous countries with this healthy legumes.

Did you know that eating a legumes like lentils with grains are a complete protein? We are by all means not a vegetarian family but being able to feed my family complete meals without meat is very budget friendly. There is so many different possibilities on how to prepare legumes and beans.

Today I am sharing one of my “Quick and easy red lentil Dahl” in about 30 minutes this dish can be on the table. It’s fulling, tasty and yes very easy.

What you will be needing

curry spices

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 1/2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 inch of fresh frozen ginger, grated
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups of red lentils
  • 6 cups of water
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to:

Brown the butter (ie Melt the butter over medium heat until it’s all bubbly and reach a golden brown color.  Watch closely, the browning butter is can burn easily) When the butter has reach the coloration desired add in the onion, stir for about 2 min.

frying spices

Add the curry powder, cumin seeds, salt and pepper flakes. When the onion are mostly cooked add the cinnamon, fresh ginger and red lentils and stir until they are all coated with the butter onion spices mixture then add the water.

curry

Bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes or until lentils are soft. Squeezed the juice of the lemon  add salt and pepper to taste and serve over basmatie rice or with Nan or Roti (will be sharing how to make those soon)

Dahl curry

If you find that the curry is too spicy for your  or your kids taste buds, serve a generous spoon of plain yogurt over the dahl, or replace some of the water with a can of coconut milk.

Tips : When cooking lentils or legumes remember that acidity aren’t best friend during the cooking process but they become best buddies as a finish touch. Add acidity before the cooking has begun and lentils will not get soft and the texture will be off even after one or plus hours of cooking. Tomatoes, vinegar and lemon juice with brighten the flavors of any legumes dish when sprinkled on the dish just before serving.