And as I walked to the bus, everything from the knees down caught the spray on the wind and was freezing. But I was smug, because I knew this was coming and planned accordingly. Maybe not my outfits, but I planned our meal and it was perfect. Take that, nature – I had plans to warm my bones before you even thought to try and chill them.
Pumpkin and red lentil dahl
(Serves four to six, generously)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. (heaping) minced fresh ginger
- 2 jalapeño or other hot peppers, minced
- 1 tbsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. mustard powder
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 lbs. pumpkin (or other winter squash), peeled and cubed
- 2 cups red lentils, rinsed
- 1 14 oz. can coconut milk
- 2 tsp. salt, or to taste
- Cilantro for garnish
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, ginger, and peppers, and sauté until onions are translucent. Stir in cumin, chili powder, mustard powder, turmeric, coriander, and cinnamon.
Add pumpkin and lentils, and stir to coat in spices. Pour in coconut milk, then enough water to just cover pumpkin and lentils (three to four cups). Add salt. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until lentils have swelled and broken, and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Taste, adjust seasonings as needed.
Let rest, uncovered, five minutes before serving.
Serve with rice, garnished with sliced lime, cilantro, dried chilies, and yogurt. Sop up the warm, slightly sweet and spicy stew with warm, naan bread, either store-bought or homemade, and if you’re going to make homemade, this recipe is pretty excellent.
Feel smug. And enjoy, preferably with a cup of tea or a glass of chilled off-dry white wine. Fail to miss summer, perhaps for the first time this season.