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Dhal with Griddled Pumpkin Wedges

by Heather Thomas from The Squash and Pumpkin Cookbook

This budget-friendly take on a dhal served with wedges of griddled pumpkin is perfect for autumn and just happens to be vegan.

From the book


When you feel in need of comfort food, make this spicy dhal. It’s economical, healthy and delicious and never fails to warm you up. The griddled pumpkin adds a touch of contrasting colour and sweetness.

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2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2.5cm/1in piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and diced
1 red chilli, diced
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
250g/9oz (1¼ cups) red lentils (dry weight)
480ml/16fl oz (2 cups) hot vegetable stock (broth)
400ml/14fl oz (scant 1¾ cups) canned coconut milk
4 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
400g/14oz pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cut into thin wedges
100g/3½oz baby spinach
juice of 1 lime
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
naan bread or chapatis, to serve
For the tarka topping:
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 red chilli, shredded
8 fresh curry leaves

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1 Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan set over a low to medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the mustard seeds and ground spices; when the seeds start to pop, add the lentils, stock and coconut milk. Increase the heat to bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

2 Stir in the tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the dhal is thick and creamy. If it’s too liquid, simmer for another 5–10 minutes; if it’s too thick, add more stock. Check the seasoning.

3 Meanwhile, make the tarka topping. Heat the oil in a frying pan (skillet) set over a low heat and cook the onion, stirring occasionally, for 12–15 minutes, or until it starts to caramelise and turn golden brown. Add the cumin seeds, chilli and curry leaves and cook for a further 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

4 When the dhal is nearly ready, brush the pumpkin wedges with the remaining oil and cook in a large griddle pan set over a medium to high heat for 5 minutes on each side, or until tender and slightly charred.

5 Stir the spinach and lime juice into the dhal to wilt the spinach. Divide between 4 shallow bowls and top with the tarka mixture and griddled pumpkin wedges. Serve with warm naan or chapatis.

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From the book: The Squash and Pumpkin Cookbook

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