Coconut Pumpkin Dal

Dal, mostly refers to various kinds of soup, originally from South Asia, prepared with pulses(lentils, peas, beans). I’m super-fond of lentils especially; they’re high in fiber, full of good protein, low in calories, easy to cook, cheap, substantial and delicious. There are a number of different kinds of lentils: dark, green and red, which all have their own special texture when cooked. Red lentils tend to lose their shape when cooked, which is perfect for wonderfully thick and mushy dishes. I’ll use red lentils and pumpkin as the base in this recipe, which makes the Dal rich and a bit naturally sweet. I’ll mix several spices to give it an exotic fragrant flavor, also add coconut cream to balance the smoothness. This is a lovely dish that goes well with rice or flat-bread, accompanied by sides of stir-fried greens or simple fresh salad. I’ll stir-fry some yummy seasoned tofu cubes along with some kale and fresh carrot. In the end, sprinkle some roasted sesame and herbs to garnish. As I always suggested, just grab things that you have. You don’t have kale? Chinese greens will be alright too. I totally like this “made from scratch” kind of cooking style, casual, creative and fun! Well, let’s start.

(serves 5)
200g red lentils, soaked overnight
2 medium sized onions, roughly chopped
200g pumpkins, in chunks
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Small chunk(about 1 clove of garlic size) of ginger, finely chopped
2 small sized tomatoes, in chunks
1 can coconut cream
2tsp curry powder
1tsp turmeric
1tsp coriander seeds
1stp cumin seeds
a small handful of curry leaves
salt and pepper, water and oil

Tofu, chopped in cubes, seasoned with curry powder, garlic, salt and sesame oil
chopped greens and grated carrot
sesame and coriander to garnish

1. Bring the lentils in a pot with enough water to the boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cover and leave to cook gently for 15 minutes until the lentils are softened. Drain and put aside.
2. Set a frying pan on medium heat, add oil, stir-fry the prepared tofu until golden color, put the crispy tofu aside. Keep stir-frying the greens, simply season with salt, put aside also when finish.
3. Get a pot, add some oil and put on medium heat, gently sautee the onion, garlic and ginger. Once the garlic is golden, mix in the pumpkins and tomatoes. Put all the spices in, as well as salt and pepper, and stir fry for another few minutes.
4. When the pot is getting dry, pour in the coconut cream and another can of water, also the cooked lentils. Give them a good stir, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the pumpkins become completely soft. Check once or twice in between. Add more water if necessary. They should have the consistency of porridge. Season to taste, then serve on rice, with side dish along, topped with sesame and coriander.