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Christine Manfield's Pumpkin and Coconut Dal

Christine uses the softer textured Japanese kent pumpkin for this dal, but any other pumpkin is suitable, you may just need to vary the cooking time slightly depending on the density of its texture. Although stocks are not part of the Indian vernacular, Christine has adopted the Western practice and use vegetable stock when cooking this dal, rather than water, because it adds a real boost of flavour.

Ingredients:

Serves 6
Dairy Free, Gluten Free and Vegetarian

6 x 1 inch-thick wedges Japanese kent pumpkin, skin on
½ cup (4.2 fluid ounces) olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste (see below)
2 teaspoons minced fresh turmeric
2 cups (14 ounces) masoor dal (red lentils), rinsed under cold running water, drained
2 cups (17 fluid ounces) hot vegetable stock or hot water
10 fluid ounces coconut milk
3 baby cucumbers (cukes), quartered lengthwise and diced
3.5 ounces green beans, cut into 1 cm sticks, blanched 2 small green chillies, finely sliced
2 tablespoons coconut flakes, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons roasted cashews, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1 fluid ounce lime juice
½ teaspoon nigella seeds, toasted
¼ teaspoon chaat masala

Method:

Preheat oven to 430°F. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Toss the pumpkin with ¼ cup (2 fl oz) oil and season with salt, pepper and ground turmeric. Place onto the prepared baking tray in single a layer and roast for 20 minutes or until tender. Set aside and keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining ¼ cup (2 fl oz) oil in a deep frying pan over medium–high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until softened. Add the ginger garlic paste and turmeric and cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in the masoor dal and cook for 1 minute to combine. Add the hot stock (or water) and the coconut milk and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until lentils are cooked. Because the lentils are soft, they will start to lose their shape. Don’t worry, this is how they should be – it forms a porridge-like consistency.

Spoon the dal into serving bowls and top with a wedge of pumpkin. Place the baby cucumber, beans, green chilli, coconut flakes, cashew, coriander leaves, lime juice and nigella seeds in a bowl, season with chaat masala and toss to combine. Scatter salad over the pumpkin and dal to serve.

How to make the ginger garlic paste

An essential component in many of the recipes in Christine Manfield's Indian Cooking Class cookbook, and in Indian cooking in general, ginger garlic paste adds an essential fragrance and flavour. Roughly chop equal quantities of garlic cloves and peeled fresh ginger and blend in a food processor with a spoonful of water to form a smooth paste. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container and use within two days.