I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. The perfect antidote to a weekend of excess is a Sunday night vegetable daal. It is cheap, it is soothing, and it can often be made from the paucity of ingredients found in an end-of-weekend fridge.
Daal also keeps sticks with my ongoing attempts at ‘reining it in’.
“Fish and chips?” Tom suggested as we drove back from Gloucestershire on Sunday afternoon. The old me would certainly have gone for the short term fix of soaking up the booze with batter, and finding comfort in big, fluffy potato chips. But a greasy chip paper ain’t going to make me feel better in the long run. Not like a vegetable daal, which is kinder on the hips, and more conducive to all round feelings of smugness.
This particular daal really shook things up, because it was my first daal which incorporated a tin of tomatoes. A rather nice addition. The main spice in this daal was chilli. I have a pot of Kashmir chilli powder on the go, which is low-medium hot. If you use a blindingly hot chilli powder, then lower the amount to a teaspoon, or less. Though it all depends how delicate you’re feeling, and what you think you can manage.
Spicy Butternut Squash Daal
Serves 4, generously
1 tbsp of unrefined coconut oil
1 butternut squash, diced
1 onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp (Kashmir) chilli powder
1 tbsp garam masala
235g red lentils, rinsed
750ml vegetable stock
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1. Heat the coconut oil in a big pan, add the butternut squash, and cook on a medium-high heat for five minutes, stirring from time to time.
2. Add the onion to the pan, and cook for five minutes or so. Add the garlic to the pan, cook for a further minute – and then add the mustard seeds, chilli powder and garam masala.
3. Stir the red lentils into the pan, so that they are coated in the spices.
4. Pour the vegetable stock and chopped tomatoes over the spiced lentils. Put a lid onthe pan, and then simmer for 20 minutes or so, until the lentils and squash are cooked.
Because this daal contains bulk in the form of the lentils and the butternut squash, I don’t think that it needs chapatti too. Enjoy in a bowl with a spoon.