The other night my close gf, Vicki, was visiting from Chicago and I wanted to make her dinner. It's actually pretty hard to think of good recipes to make for her because she co-owns a very successful restaurant called Ruxbin in Chicago and has a fantastic palate. I chose something really light, flavorful, yet filling because I knew that she was eating at all the hottest spots in LA and probably wanted a little break. This is one of my favorite recipes and I absolutely love the aromatic spices in this dish.
I wouldn't change this recipe at all but please note, if you plan on adding stock to this dish, omit or reduce the 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt during the tempering portion of the recipe and adjust the seasoning at the end.
From Aarti Party on the Food Network
Ingredients1 cup yellow split pigeon peas (toor dal)
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 Roma tomato, diced (I didn't find any good roma tomatoes so I used a small red vine tomato)
1/2 cup fresh, frozen, or dried shredded coconut (I use the unsweetened version in the recipe)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups vegetable stock or water, or enough to cover
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon brown or black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 lime, juiced
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
Rinse the pigeon peas in a couple changes of water.
In a large soup pot, combine the squash, drained pigeon peas, tomato, coconut, turmeric, cumin, and enough stock to cover. Bring to a boil, and then simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Remove the cover and simmer another 10 minutes.
To temper: In a small skillet, warm the canola oil until shimmering. Add the mustard seeds and when they stop popping, add the red pepper flakes, garlic, and salt. Swirl the skillet so the contents cook evenly, and cook another 10 seconds. Then pour the contents of the skillet into the soup, along with the salt. Spoon a ladleful of soup back into the skillet (it will sizzle, be careful!), and pour back into the soup pot. Finish with the honey, lime juice, and cilantro. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
I didn't know how to cut a butternut squash before so I included a little tutorial. The most important part of cutting an oddly shaped vegetable or fruit is to create a flat surface on it so that when you cut into it, the object doesn't wobble around.
The brown mustard seeds you see below in the left picture are a little hard to find in a normal grocery store. I found them at Whole Foods though. They add such a great depth of flavor to the soup!
I almost always use a food scale to measure my ingredients these days to make sure that I have just the right amount to follow the recipe.
I love making a big batch of this so I can have enough to take to work the next day. We just love it.