Daal is one of those warm comforting dishes that you can eat to your heart’s content because it is so darn good for you! Don’t get me wrong, I live for homemade mac ‘n’ cheese but whipping up a steaming pot of protein-rich spiced lentils can be equally as satisfying. Daal is super easy to make and is also a cost effective meal for those days when you want to watch your spending.
I’ve been making my usual daal for about 8 years now and it just occurred to me that I could maybe change things up a bit. I had a very small Kabocha squash (think smaller than a cantaloupe) and I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with it. I have a bit of a sensitivity to squash, zucchini, and pumpkins so I don’t cook with them that often. From what I’ve been told, this mild allergy is quite common. It involves sensitivity to a particular protein that becomes denatured during the cooking process. This definitely explains why I can eat squashes in any kind of baking or in fully cooked purées but not when they are raw or slightly grilled. I also have to wash my hands very thoroughly after working with squashes (and that includes carving pumpkins) or I get a rash. Generally when I prepare squash I always steam it so I know it is cooked all the way through.
For this recipe I cut the squash in half and scooped out the seeds. I placed a rack in the bottom of my instant pot and poured in a cup of water. After placing the two halves on top of the rack, I closed the lid, switched the seal to ‘closed’, and set the manual timer to high for 8 minutes. Since I was busy doing other things in the kitchen that day I allowed the instant pot to de-pressurize naturally before I remembered to remove the lid. The squash was super easy to peel after it had cooled down and I probably had about 2 cups puréed squash in total.
This recipe makes a pretty hefty amount (six servings over rice) which is good because it is even better the next day and extremely easy to heat up for a quick lunch or dinner.
Kabocha Squash Daal
- 1 small kabocha squash
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1 medium onion; small dice
- 3 cloves garlic; minced
- 2 cm piece fresh ginger; minced
- 2 small red chilies; de-seeded
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 10 grape or cherry tomatoes; halved
- 1 cup red lentils; rinsed
- 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 2 cups water
- salt and pepper to taste
- lime juice
- fresh cilantro