Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
350 g dried masoor dal or split lentils of your choice, washed and drained
½ lb (250g) pumpkin, peeled and diced into 3/4th inch (2-cm) dice
7 cups (1.5 liters) water
1 tsp ground turmeric
Salt to taste
3 tbsps oil
2½ tsps cumin seeds
2 dried red chili peppers, broken in half
6 to 8 fresh curry leaves
2 tbsps chopped garlic
1 tbsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 fresh green chili peppers, minced
1 tomato (about 1/3 lb/150g), diced
1 tsp Asian chili powder or cayenne pepper
4 tbsps minced fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
Juice of ½ lime
In a heavy pot, bring the lentils, pumpkin and water to a boil. Remove any surface scum that collects on top.
Add the turmeric and one and half teaspoons of salt and reduce the heat to low. Cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and simmer gently for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the lentils become soft and mushy and the pumpkin is fully cooked. Stir often to prevent sticking. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle for three to four seconds.
Add the dried red chili peppers, curry leaves, garlic, ginger, green chili peppers, tomatoes and Asian chili powder or cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.
Add the cooked lentils and pumpkin to this mixture. Mix well, adding more water as needed. The consistency should be like a soft porridge. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.
Stir in the fresh coriander leaves and lime juice. Transfer to a serving bowl, serve hot.
ABOUT THE CHEF: Hari Nayak is more than a chef, today he is a restaurateur, author as well as a culinary consultant in North America. Chef Nayak started his epicurean journey from the Culinary Institute of America and today, he is one of the most sought-after chefs for his unique style. Today, Nayak is the author of the six bestselling books like Modern Indian Cooking and My Indian Kitchen, these books feature the simple yet eclectic style of his dishes. His latest book The Café Spice Cookbook is filled with quick and easy Indian recipes for every day meals.