Dal is an Indian comfort food. It is made from protein loaded lentils or other small legumes. Butternut squash gives it a fresh taste & feels like Autumn in a bowl.
We can have Dal in every meal. Besides providing real comfort, it is also very nutritious. We make it either thick like stew or thin like soup, and sometimes add vegetables to it to give it a new dimension. In fact I make different varieties of Dal every Sunday. Sultani Dal has been one of the most popular recipe on my blog, loved by all. I have had so many readers write back to me saying that they have loved this Dal recipe and have asked me for more such variations. This just goes on to prove that Dal is a widely popular dish and has a huge fan following. My aim is to help my readers with their everyday cooking by providing them with easy to make restaurant style meals. Hence presenting this new kind of Dal for all of you.
This Dal that I have prepared today is creamy and thick, made with quick cooking red split lentils or masoor dal. It also gives it an autumn feel thanks to the tender cubed butternut squash that is cooked in it. To notch up the health quotient, there’s also cancer fighting turmeric and chilies, plus bay leaf and ginger that helps digestion. And the method of adding hot, spiced ghee/oil as tadka on top, adds a brightness and gives depth to the flavor that turns this dal into a hearty meal in itself. You can enjoy a bowl of Dal like soup or dip a roti in it. However it tastes the best when served with rice.
I started cooking with butternut squash only when I moved to the US. I have enjoyed preparing different recipes using this vegetable. Roasted Butternut Squash & Garlic Soup, Butternut Squash Pasta, Butternut Squash Crepes/Pumpkin Uttapam are just some examples for you to check. It’s a winter vegetable and from the pumpkin family. It has a hard exterior but softer on the inside. I like the flavor of it when cooked and hence got a packet of chopped butternut squash from the mart. But then I was still wondering how to use it this time. Having tried it in soup, pasta and uttapam recipes, I wanted to use it in a totally different dish.
Weekend was nearing and I still hadn’t figured out what to make with it. Sunday morning, KR looked at me and asked, “We are having Dal Rice today, right?!” Like I said before, nearly every Sunday that is what we have. That is when it occurred to me that I could add butternut squash in it this time. There, I had created a new recipe right there! The recipe I made is extremely simple to make and is ready in nearly 2 steps. First boil the chopped butternut squash and masoor dal (red lentils) in water with salt, turmeric powder, bay leaf and ginger in a pressure cooker. Give it 4-5 whistles.
Give the boiled dal and squash mixture a good mix. Heat ghee in a tadka pan, temper mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Add and fry ginger, garlic and dried red chillies. Add asafoetida, and chilly powder while taking the pan off the flame. Pour the tadka onto the dal. Sprinkle cilantro and serve hot.
Butternut Squash Dal Tadka is ready to be gorged upon. Due to the natural sweetness in butternut squash, the Dal has a tinge of sweetness in it. However there is an adequate amount of spices to give it a mixed flavor. Masoor dal blends very well with this squash. The ghee tadka on top helps elevate the dish to a whole new level. That is what gives the Dal its aroma. I am just glad that I gave in to my temptation and decided to make this recipe. I could finally put this squash to a great use!
- 2 cups butternut squash
- 2 cups masoor dal
- 5 cups water
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 Bay leaf
- Half inch ginger
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- Pinch of asafoetida
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 2 dried red chillies
- 1 tsp chilly powder
- Salt as required
- Cilantro for garnish
- First boil the chopped butternut squash and masoor dal (red lentils) in water with salt, turmeric powder, bay leaf and ginger in a pressure cooker. Give it 4-5 whistles.
- Give the boiled dal and squash mixture a good mix. Heat ghee in a tadka pan, temper mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Add and fry ginger (use the same ginger that was used to boil the lentil), garlic and dried red chillies. Add asafoetida, and chilly powder while taking the pan off the flame. Pour the tadka onto the dal. Sprinkle cilantro and serve hot.
When I told my MIL about this recipe, she immediately noted it down and made it for dinner that night. It feels nice to be on the other end sometimes. Cause always its we who ask for a recipe from our moms, very rarely its the other way around. I guess, times are changing now and it surely is a welcome change. 🙂
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