Spicy Lentils with Yellow Squash

Considered highly nutritious and rich in protein, dal is the generic name for all legumes, lentils, dried beans, and peas.  Available at your local supermarkets and Indian grocery stores, dal is always prepared in combination with pungent herbs and spices, such as garlic, ginger, onion, black pepper, chilies, mustard seeds, asafoetida, cumin, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek seeds, onion seeds, salt, and oil or clarified butter.  Buy legumes and beans in small quantities and store them in a dry place.

Spicy Lentils with Yellow Squash (Dal)

Serves 6

This healthy recipe is prepared with yellow or pink salmon-colored lentils (masoor dal) and is the perfect accompaniment with rice or roti.  You can use carrots, bell pepper, pumpkin, gourd, spinach, daikon or zucchini.

1 pound pink or yellow lentils
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
2 quarts water
Salt to taste
¼  cup corn oil
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced fine
7 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
½-inch fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped fine
1 small dried red chili
¼ teaspoon asafoetida
1 pound small yellow squash, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 large tomato, chopped fine
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

Soak the lentils in a pot of cold water for 15 minutes.  Rinse and drain the lentils three times.

In a large pot, add the water, lentils, turmeric powder, and salt.  Cover and boil over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until lentils are cooked.

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat.  Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds and sauté for 1-2 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the cumin and fenugreek seeds change color and mustard seeds start popping.  Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and red chili and sauté for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.  Add the asafoetida and stir thoroughly for 1 minute.

Add the cooked lentils, yellow squash, and tomato and stir thoroughly for 1-2 minutes.  Cover and cook for 6-7 minutes.  Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.

Serve hot with basmati rice or roti, chicken kebab, vegetables, and yogurt salad.


Being on friendlier terms with your stomach serves you well!  Discover and share my dazzling repertoire of authentic, delicious, healthy, and easy-to-prepare recipes of diverse flavors with your friends from my cookbooks Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables (1991, 2015) and India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine: The Art of Indian Curry Cooking (Editor’s Choice, 2016) at www.feastofindia.net.


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