It’s a beautiful fall morning as the cook begins preparation for lunch for the monks. Colorful ingredients are gathered including tiny green kabocha squash, red lentils, fresh yellow ginger, and snowy white coconut. Oh yum, what gifts life has bestowed to be shared!
In that spirit of sharing we pass along Red Pumpkin Dal.
Red Pumpkin Dal
--from The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook by Kate O’Donnell
3 cups water or 2 cups water plus one 13.5 oz can of coconut milk
1 cup red lentils
1 tsp Fall Spice Mix*
1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
1 small kabocha squash (about 2 cups, chopped)
½ tsp salt
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp mustard seeds
2 Tbsp shredded coconut
Boil the water and coconut milk (if using) in a large saucepan on high heat. Rinse the red lentils until the water runs clear. Add lentils to the boiling water along with the spice mix and maple syrup. Allow to come to a boil again, uncovered. Then turn heat down to medium.
Chop the squash, peel and all, into 1-inch cubes (we usually peel). Add to the saucepan. When it boils again, turn heat down to low and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Do not stir.
Heat the oil in a small frying pan on medium heat and temper the ginger, cumin, and mustard seeds until you smell them, just 2-3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and stir the shredded coconut into hot pan. Continue to stir for a minute or two as the coconut browns.
Add this tempering to the lentils and squash, along with the salt. Simmer the dal, uncovered, for 5 minutes more.
Ladle over rice.
*Fall Spice Mix: 1 Tbsp coriander seeds, 1 Tbsp cumin seeds, 2 tsp fennel seeds, 1 Tbsp turmeric powder, 2 tsp ginger powder. Dry roast the coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds in a heavy-bottomed pan on medium-low heat until you can smell them, a few minutes. Cool completely and then grind to a uniform consistency in an electric grinder or by hand. Add the turmeric and ginger and stir. Store in an airtight jar.