This year for Easter my friend Sol and I took a trip down to the NSW South Coast to visit his mum, Ro. As has become customary when I visit there was a lot of cooking, including pumpkin dahl.
Ro lives in a beautiful off-the-grid mud brick house on a property known as Gentle Valley. It is a calming sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It is a great opportunity to unwind and recharge, and for me that means reading and cooking.
In addition to making delicious pumpkin dahl, there were cooked brekkies and homemade pizzas in the recently completed pizza oven, but that story is for another post.
As I am new to this blogging thing I forgot to take pictures while making dahl at Gentle Valley. The leftovers also stayed with Ro. Luckily I have this week off work and so have had time to make another batch.
Pumpkin dahl has a lot of ingredients, but the process is fairly straightforward. You can also make lots of variations of dahl by using different vegetables or types of lentils.
Below is an overview of the steps I took in making this dish. You can skip to the bottom of this post if you want the condensed version of ingredients, equipment and steps.
For this pumpkin dahl I used red lentils, butternut pumpkin, kale, onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, ground cumin, cumin seeds, sweet paprika, turmeric, garam masala, ground coriander seeds, mustard seeds, tamarind, stock, coconut cream and olive oil.
The first step is to roast the pumpkin. There are many ways to roast pumpkin, do whichever you are more comfortable with. At Gentle Valley we’d lit a small fire earlier in the day to cook our lunch, so I used the coals to bake the pumpkin. Wrapping the pumpkin in alfoil kept it moist and so I used the same process of at home, but baked it in the oven instead. Remember to oil to alfoil so the pumpkin doesn’t stick. I also like to bake it with some garlic for extra flavour. I didn’t want to waste food, so I also made Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.
While the pumpkin is roasting, finely chop the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. I am not the biggest fan of onion so I tend to fry that first for quite a while before I add the other chopped ingredients.
Next come the spices. In a small bowl mix the dried spices together. Add this and the tamarind paste to the pot and fry. If you’re using stock powder you can add it with the spices.
Add the stock (water if you added the stock at the spices step) and red lentils. Chop the kale and add that too.
Next, remove the pumpkin from the oven and mash. Add this to the pot and simmer until everything is nearly cooked.
Last step – add the coconut cream to the dahl and reduce slightly. Delicious.
This dish was amazing when I made it at Gentle Valley, slight spicy, slightly creamy, very delicious. This time, although still tasty, the chilli didn’t come through and I added too much cumin. I didn’t know it was possible to have too much cumin – live and learn! Next time I will be sure to add more chilli and less cumin.
Ingredients: red lentils, butternut pumpkin, kale, onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, ground cumin, cumin seeds, sweet paprika, turmeric, garam masala, ground coriander seeds, mustard seeds, tamarind paste, stock, coconut cream and olive oil.
Equipment: chopping board, knife, oven tray, large pot, bowl, potato masher
- Roast the pumpkin in the oven
- Finely chop onion, garlic, ginger and chilli and fry in the large pot
- Add the spices and tamarind paste to the pot
- Add water, red lentils and chopped kale to the pot
- Mash the roasted pumpkin and add to pot
- Cook, when the dish is almost ready add the coconut milk.
Love pumpkin? Read about Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.