With Indian Diwali - the festival of light - happening this week, I am posting this delicious pumpkin spinach dahl recipe. It’s super easy to make, don’t get intimidated by the length of ingredients or the fact that everyone says, Indian food is so complicated to make. Yes, it takes some time for the flavors to fully develop, but you can make a bigger batch for food prep.
Lentils are a perfect choice for filling your plate with plant based protein without a lot of effort of other beans. Lentils don’t need soaking in case you didn’t prepare them ahead of time. You can cook them right away or soak quickly as you are chopping the rest of your ingredients. I personally am in love with red lentils, as they give so much beautiful color to your dish, and they cook the fastest. However, you can also substitute with green-brown or even black lentils - they just take a little longer to cook, so plan some extra time.
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Makes 4 servings:
1 cup red lentils, soaked in plenty of water for at least 30 minutes (or all day)
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, minced (finely grate it)
¼ white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red chili, deseeded and finely chopped (optional if you like it spicy)
1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
1 Tbsp turmeric powder
2 Tbsp cumin powder
½ a big pumpkin, chopped into small bite sized pieces (about 4 cups)
1 tsp tamarind paste
3 cups spinach, roughly chopped
Start with the ginger, onion, garlic, chili, and coconut oil in a big pan or wok. Over medium-high heat, stir this for 5 minutes. Add splashes of water in case it gets too dry and starts to burn too quickly.
Add turmeric and cumin and stir for 2 minutes to let the flavors develop.
Drain lentils and rinse them well. Add to the pan together with the pumpkin.
Dissolve the tamarind paste in 1 liter of warm water and add this to the pan. Cook for 30 minutes to cook the water down and until pumpkin and lentils are soft. If the water cooks away too quickly, add ⅓ cup of water at a time and keep stirring.
Add spinach for the last 5 minutes and stir well.
I like to serve this with Indian chutneys on the side or topped with some fresh coriander/ cilantro.