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Pumpkin Dansak §

Get your Persian on and make this traditional Parsi dish brought to India with the ever mysterious Zoroastrians. This recipe is from Claire Thompson's Home Cookery Year.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Makes: 4 servings


800g pumpkin (or squash, or sweet potato)

4tbsp neutral oil

2 onions

4 cloves of garlic

1 tbsp ginger

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 tsp salt

1-2 tsp chilli powder

2 tsp garam masala

100g split red lentils

1 cinnamon stick

2 bay leaves

30g tamaring paste

1/2 lemon

1tsp light brown soft sugar

300g brown rice (or rice of choice)

Bunch of coriander leaves

1. It's very rice

If you're using the more exotic brown rice we bow to your heathy prowess, now start the recipe off by washing the rice and then simmer it in water, it will take 40 minutes. If using basmati rice, rinse now and leave to soak for cooking later.

2. Pump up the kin

Preheat your oven to 180c fan. Chop 800g pumpkin (or orange veg, such as sweet potato or butternut squash, of choice) into bite sized chunks and toss in 2tbsp oil in a baking tray. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes until soft and just starting to brown at the edges. Remove and put the Gemma Collins imitators to one side.

2. Len-till the fields of your meal

Whilst the pumpkin is cooking, heat 2 tbsp oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat and slice 2 onions, cook for 10-12 minutes until soft and translucent.

While the onions soften like they're watching a Christmas rom-com, finely dice 4 cloves garlic and grate 1 tbsp ginger, add to the onions when soft and cook for 2 minutes. Then add 1tbsp tomato puree and 1tsp salt, 1-2tsp chilli powder and 1tbsp garam masala cook for 1 minute.

Add 100g lentils (rinsed), 1 cinnamon stick and 2 bay leaves scrunched lightly (they're not a good replacement for a stress ball, so go easy), add 600ml water and isolated those ingredients together so they have to get to know each other - cover the pot with a lid. Cook the lentilly goodness for 25 minutes, checking for water every so often and stirring. If you're using basmati rice put it on 5 minutes before the lentils are cooked.

3. Zing Zing - Hello

After 25 minutes add the cooked pumpkin, 30g tamarind paste and juice of 1/2 lemon and 1tsp sugar and cook for a further 5 minute to add a little bit of acid to the mix. Add hot water if it dries too much.

Check for salt and pepper then serve with rice and a healthy amount of chopped coriander.

And dink and sink!

Food for Thought

Lizzy says: "I'm such a fanatic for red split lentils, they have my heart and I will commit to any recipe with them in. This recipe lived up to all of my wildest dreams, it was so flavourful and the tamarind and lemon added a nice zippiness to it. It went down perfectly with some basmati rice (I know basmati-blasphemy that I didn't use brown rice like the original recipe). It was so easy to make and the left overs are great for lunch the next day. 10/10"

Kate says: "I was surprised that I liked this recipe so much, and since we made it I've been craving its sourness. I really love pumpkin, and to have that in a curry form with some brown rice gave me LEON vibes, and I'm okay with that! I think this could also be one I stick into my regular rotation, seeing as it was fairly easy to make with a payoff in terms of taste 8/10 "

9/10 Gasps


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