Autumn Dal
90 Min

Autumn Dal

Autumn is the time when warming soups can start off the season of cold. This soup, more like a soupy dal, has so many possibilities. Use the vegetables you have at hand however the butternut squash is a wonderful balance of sweet with the savory lentils. It can be enjoyed as a first course or with rice for a main course. The pop, or tempering of spices adds tremendous flavor to the dal.
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Cook Time

90 Minutes



Step 1
Rinse the lentils 2 to 3 times in cold tap water and soak for 2 to 3 hours. Drain.
Step 2
Peel and chop the butternut squash into 1-inch pieces and set aside.
Step 3
Combine the drained lentils with five cups of water in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Discard any scum that may arise – these are impurities that contribute to making lentils and beans seemingly hard to digest.
Step 4
Add the turmeric, ginger, and cloves. Turn the heat down, cover the pot, and simmer for an hour or more, checking every 15 to 20 minutes to make sure the water has not evaporated. Towards the end of cooking, using a whisk, mix the soup to ensure that the lentils have completely dissolved. The consistency should be fairly watery. It will thicken after the addition of vegetables.
Step 5
Add the butternut squash and continue cooking the soup for another ten minutes, covered on low heat until the squash is soft but holds its shape.
Step 6
When ready to serve the soup, in a small frying pan, heat the ghee. Pop the cardamom pods, kari leaves and cumin seeds in the ghee. Within 2 to 3 seconds turn the heat off and add the chili powder to the ghee.
Step 7
Transfer this mixture to the dal and let it simmer for 4 to 5 minutes more. Just before serving, add the chopped greens and pomegranates.
1/2 cup toor dal
1 small butternut squash
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon grated unpeeled ginger
3 to 4 cloves, chopped
4 tablespoons ghee
8 to 10 green cardamom pods
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
15 to 20 kari leaves (from 1 to 2 stems)
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 cups of greens (such as spinach, watercress, kale, etc)
2 teaspoons sea salt
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Notes & Variations

  • The spice pop, an important step in this soup needs careful vigilance – if the ghee is not hot enough, the spices will not pop (release flavor) and if too hot, they may burn.
  • Almost any lentils will work in this recipe. The yellow moong lentil or orange masoor lentil will also taste delicious and will cook faster.
  • To make the soup with chicken, add 2 whole skinless bone-in chicken legs at the beginning of the cooking. Before adding the vegetables, take the chicken out, remove the meat, and add it back to the soup.
  • Enjoy with rice.
90 Min

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Are you a fan of dal?

Dal is often translated to lentils, but it actually means a split pulse. Pulse is a broader term capturing beans, legumes, split beans & beans without skins. In India, beans & dal are interchangeable terms. Try some more dal recipes below!