Monday, September 29

Slow Cooker Indian Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Curry

As most of you know, #30DaysOfPumpkin starts in just a couple of days, I have been a tad busy prepping for pumpkin madness. To help me out, my friend Vijay from Noshon.it  offered to share his knowledge of Indian cooking and a new curry recipe on my blog! 

Indian cooking is sort of new to me, I am having a blast experimenting with all the spices and delicious comforting dishes this fall. I just know I will fall in love this Slow Cooker Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Curry.... and I think my meatless hubby will love it too! 



Hi Bakeaholic Mama readers! I’m Vijay from NoshOn.It, where we feature the best food bloggers (like Carrie) and their recipes. Thanks so much to Carrie for inviting me to guest post today and share a bit of an experiment with you.

A few weeks ago, I saw that Carrie was venturing into the world of Indian cooking by making my Channa Masala (Indian Chickpea Curry) for her family after re-stocking her pantry with a ton of new spices. Most people think that cooking authentic Indian food at home is out of their reach and, while it’s true that the ingredient list can be long, I’m here to prove to you that it’s not that hard at all. Enter our trusty friend, the slow cooker.

Can you believe that I’ve had a slow cooker for exactly 3 weeks? Even though I’ve been cooking for years and probably used just about every gadget that’s out there, somehow I never had a crockpot. I didn’t grow up with one and never thought I had a need for it since then. Boy, was I wrong. This thing is like magic. It just does it’s thing while you actually are productive throughout the day. Where has this been all my life?? And when it comes to Indian food, the slow cooker helps you get that deep, rich, layered flavor, with very little work.




Even though I know most of you probably aren’t ready for the cold weather that’s about to pour down on top of us, we might as well get ready for the winter with plenty of slow-cooked, filling, warming recipes, like this curry that I’m sharing with you.


Indian food is all about layering different ingredients, flavors, and spices together in a certain way to create a complex and rich dish. But it’s actually very simple. For this one, you just saute together onions, garlic, and ginger with a homemade spice blend and some tomatoes, then dump it in the slow cooker with butternut squash and red lentils. Let it go all day and you’ll come home to a creamy, spiced, and lightly sweet curry that’s almost like a veggie chili.

My one secret spice in this is garam masala powder, which you can find at any Indian grocery store, and many places online. It’s a combination of cumin, coriander, cinnamon, clove, cardamom, and bay leaves. It’s spiced, but not spicy. A little fun fact (for your next Indian food trivia game): traditionally, you use whole garam masala (as in, whole cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, etc.) at the beginning of cooking a dish, and ground garam masala as a finishing spice at the end. To keep things simple in this recipe, we’re going to use the ground version twice, at the beginning for some backbone, and at the end for an extra kick of flavor.



The butternut squash practically falls apart and melts into the lentils, giving the entire dish a creamy sweetness. Serve it on top of white rice or with store-bought naan on the side. Or, just eat it like a stew with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream and a big squeeze of lime.

I hope you’ll give this recipe a shot and try out cooking Indian food at home yourself! If you like it or have any questions, let me know in the comments down below. Thanks again to Carrie for having me and happy noshing!



Slow Cooker Indian Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Curry

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 teaspoons garam masala powder, divided
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
2 bay leaves
3 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
1 large onion, diced finely
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
6 cups water
2 cups red lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and seeds removed then cubed into 1" pieces
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime

Directions:
In a small bowl, mix together the ground cumin, 2 teaspoons garam masala powder, turmeric powder, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and bay leaves. Set aside.

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add 2 teaspoons of the vegetable oil. Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and saute until deep golden brown, 5-6 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the remaining teaspoon of vegetable oil and add the tomato paste. Saute for another 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the tomato paste is caramelized and browned.

Add the reserved spice mixture and saute for 30 seconds to toast the spices and release their flavor. The pan will be very dry at this point so stir frequently. Add the entire can of diced tomato with juices and stir to combine.

To a slow cooker, add the tomato mixture. Add 1 cup of water to the pan to get anything that's left behind and pour it into the slow cooker. Add 5 cups of water, the lentils, the butternut squash, and the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt. Stir to combine and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 8-10 hours.

When it's ready, add 1 teaspoon of garam masala powder, taste and add salt as necessary. Add a big squeeze of lime juice and chopped cilantro just before serving. Serve over white rice or with your favorite flatbread along with a dollop of yogurt.


For more recipes and foodie tips, be sure to check out Noshon.it as well as follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

37 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for having me Carrie!

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  2. I am a beginner at eating/cooking Indian food. My family and I love all the diverse spices and flavors. I will definitely be trying this!

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  3. I absolutely LOVE Indian food and love that this is a slow cooker recipe!!! I'm all about spice and flavor and having the butternut squash practically fall apart and melt into the lentils?! oh my gawd, can't wait to try this! Vijay, LOVED meeting you this past weekend!! and Carrie, can't wait for #30DaysOfPumpkin!

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  4. I LOVE anything spiced with garam masala as well as anything with butternut squash! Super excited to try this!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jessica! Make sure you come back and tell Carrie if you do!

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  5. Love Indian food and love me slow cooker. This looks perfect. Thanks Vijay and Carrie!!

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  6. YUM! I am definitely going to try this in the near future! It's officially fall time and the flavors are changing!

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  7. Sounds SO delicious - and that colour, screams fall!!

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  8. I absolutely love Indian food and while I don't make it often, I would love to make this!

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  9. Oh my word! This looks amazing!

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  10. Outstanding! Made this tonight kids and husband loved it too!

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  11. Looks great, going to try it! How many servings is this recipe?

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  12. Replies
    1. SO glad you enjoyed it! We made it the other night, it was a winner for sure.

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  13. Vijay - quick Q. You list 3 teaspoons garam masala powder, divided. You mention the garam masala gets mixed in the small bowl at the beginning, and then 1 teaspoon is added at the end. So I take it it's just 2 teaspoons being mixed in at the beginning and you're reserving 1 teaspoon for the end? Thanks. Teri ;)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Teri! You're correct, sorry about that typo!

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  14. How many people does this serve?

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    Replies
    1. We made it for five people, and had about one serving left over. So it serves 6?

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  15. Would you recommend adding coconut milk? Any thoughts on this would be appreciated!

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  16. Would this be good with coconut milk added as well? I'm all about my curries with coconut milk and am hoping to make this delicious dish for Thanksgiving this year!

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  17. Can I use other lentils like toor Dal (sambar dal / yellow dal) instead of red lentils? Would it require extra cooking time?

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  18. Do you use dried lentils? Do you need to soak them first?

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  19. I had this at a potluck prepared by a fellow mom. I loved it so much, I asked her for the recipe! I can testify that it's delicious.

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  20. 6 cups of water seems like a lot. Mine is one hour away from big done and it just looKS like a watery vegetable mess 😕

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    1. It's really not a lot of water for the amount of lentils and squash. My guess is you didn't cook it long enough with your individual slow cooker. Did you have it set on low or high? How many hours?

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    2. I've personally tested this recipe as have many others without any issues. I'm sorry yours wasn't as expected.

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  21. I just tried it and it was absolutely delicious! Best lentils I've ever made! Thank you for sharing!!

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  22. This has become one of my go-to recipes in the slow cooker! I usually sub out sweet potato for the squash (mostly because sweet potatoes are a staple in our house). I also sub out Madras curry powder or sambar powder (my mom's recipe) for the garam masala (personal preference), and toss in a few curry leaves during the onion cooking process.

    This is so delicious and warm and cozy! It's not quite "Indian" food, but it has all the homey flavors without the fuss, and it's enough for my baby to enjoy. Perfect for busy lives. Thanks for this recipe!

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  23. This stew is amazing and tastes heavenly!! I can't thank you enough for such a delicious recipe

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  24. I love this recipe! The first time I made it was after a friend gave us a butternut squash from her garden. My boyfriend isn't a huge fan of butternut squash but loves Indian food, so I looked for a recipe with Indian spices that would have a lot of flavor. My boyfriend liked it so much that he bought a butternut squash the following week so that he could make the dish again!

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  25. This recipe is fantastic! I'm South Asian and I love how flavourful the dish is, especially with veggies hidden in it! About how many servings would you say are in this recipe? Thanks!

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  26. I've made this recipe a couple of times now thanks to a friend's recommendation. It's wonderful! I'm South Asian and love how flavourful the dish is along with the fact there's squash hidden in it. I just use a potato masher at the end to meld all the flavours and soften the squash.

    Could you please tell me how many servings are in this recipe?

    Thanks!

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  27. Hi, there, I have just stumbled across this recipe (your blogs/sites). This recipe sounds wonderful! I am definitely going to make it soon. As a vegan, I am trying to accumulate as many variations on beans/lentils/tofu/tempeh as I can, including a variety of spice combinations, especially slow cooker recipes.

    I've just noticed a couple of questions that weren't answered. The first is, "Would this be good with coconut milk added as well?" It seems to me the answer is yes. The second question, though, is a little more difficult: "Can I use other lentils like toor Dal (sambar dal / yellow dal) instead of red lentils? Would it require extra cooking time?" and a related question: "Do you use dried lentils? Do you need to soak them first?" Would you be able to answer those questions?

    Thanks very much!


    LalithaDecember 7, 2015 at 8:18 PM

    Can I use other lentils like toor Dal (sambar dal / yellow dal) instead of red lentils? Would it require extra cooking time?
    Reply


    Monica (aka monnibo)December 16, 2015 at 5:31 AM

    Do you use dried lentils? Do you need to soak them first?

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