janet @ the taste space

Butternut Squash, Coconut, and Lentil Stew (Aarti’s Indian Summer Stew)

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian), Soups on October 14, 2011 at 6:31 AM

Rob finds blogging to be a chore, at times. Me, I will gladly use it as a form of procrastination. Writing personal statements, now that is a chore!

This was another recipe I pawned off suggested to Rob when I had leftover butternut squash. Aarti‘s Indian Summer Stew. Indian, check. Coconut, check. Butternut squash, totally up my alley… and a new kind of bean to try: toor dal or split pigeon peas. I actually originally bookmarked this recipe when I saw Anja using split yellow peas (my latest craze), but I’ve bought a few new split beans to facilitate more cooking from 660 Curries, Rob’s go-to cookbook. So toor dal, it was!

As expected, Rob adored this soup. Creamy and savoury. The toor dal melts into a thickened soup spiced with warming spices and thick chunks of dried coconut. There was a zippy undertone that was tempered by the cilantro. He promptly took photos and linked it up on Facebook, sharing his culinary success.

But as we ate the soup, we argued a bit. Freshly made, I thought the soup was a bit too hot for me (not Rob). Was it the mustard seeds or the Aleppo? Half a teaspoon is usually my max for the Aleppo chili flakes, and Rob swore he didn’t add anything extra or sneak in any of our garden chilis. Were my chili flakes more potent? We had finally returned to using my stash of chili flakes from Turkey, as opposed to the Aleppo from Kensington Market. Rob then described how he cooked the chili flakes, in the tempering oil. Oh yes, that must be why – the flavour oil explosion!

Turns out that the stew mellowed as leftovers, so it was now safe for me. Life got busy, though, and Rob lost his enthusiasm for sharing the recipe. I still wanted to share the meal, so here I am with Rob’s dish. Because while I used to only share food that I made, I can’t deprive you all of tasty dishes that Rob cooks up!

This is my submission to this month’s Simple and in Season, to this month’s Healing Foods featuring coconut, to this month’s Veggie/Fruit a Month featuring coconut, to Ricki’s Wellness Weekend, to Healthy Vegan Fridays, to this month’s Ingredient Challenge Monday for coconut and to this month’s No Croutons Required featuring squash.

Butternut Squash, Coconut, and Lentil Stew (Aarti’s Indian Summer Stew)

1 cup yellow split pigeon peas (toor dal) – or substitute split yellow peas
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 Roma tomato, diced
1/2 cup fresh, frozen, or dried shredded coconut (we used large flake dried coconut)
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 (we used Aleppo chili flakes)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon agave
1 lime, juiced
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves

1. Rinse the pigeon peas in a couple changes of water.

2. 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.

3. 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 agave, lime juice, and cilantro. Adjust the seasonings, to taste.

Serves 6.

  1. Looks delicious! I just made and posted a soup very similar to this and I loved it (I also submitted it the Healing Foods). It’s really a great combination of flavors. http://savorymomentsblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/curried-butternut-squash-and-yellow-pea.html

    • Great minds think alike! I really like how there were large coconut flakes in there with a more brothy base but your version with coconut milk sounds so decadent. 🙂

  2. This recipe sounds absolutely amazing! One for the weekend I think! I’ll let you know how it turns out. I can’t wait. I can’t believe how often you churn out recipes. I barely get time to cook twice a week let alone every day.

    • Definitely let me know how you like it… we both enjoyed it tremendously. 🙂 Rob wanted to make it again later in the week.. but I convinced him not to so I didn’t have to worry about using up the rest of the squash. 😉

  3. What very beautiful soup! It looks like the sort of thing I’d love, but I like almost any sort of dal soup.

  4. Delicious! I made a version of this with our homegrown squash, and it was yummy 🙂

    • Lovely! I am very jealous of your homegrown squash!
      Is it hard to grow it? I figured one would need a lot of room for it to grow…

  5. Andddddd…bookmarked! I use blogging as a form of procrastination as well…but I also just really love it. I’m pretty sure I’d love this soup so much I’d feel compelled to post about it ASAP…however there’s only one way to find out! Time to get cooking!

  6. wow, that looks superb, love the color and specially in flavors going in there.

  7. What a gorgeous stew, it looks so bright and fresh

  8. I’m happy that I have enabled you to procrastinate Janet 😉

  9. Yum! As you started listing the ingredients, I was saying “check” to each one right along with you! I would probably like this as a blended soup too, but then you would lose all the texture…I’m just wondering how the coconut would turn out if I used shredded dried coconut – did yours soften a lot?

    • No no no, I really liked the texture in this. In fact, I really liked the large flakes of coconut because they had some bite to them. When I first saw it I thought it was cabbage, but no, it was coconut! It softened but not much. If you use the fine stuff, it will likely be much softer. When you make it, definitely let me know how you enjoy it. 🙂

      • Good to know! This is on my list of things to make…I’ll have to keep my eye out for large flake coconut too, I never see it anywhere!

  10. Pinned, because I want to make sure I don’t forget to make this. It looks divine!

  11. i am seriously procrastinating of making my pins.. well moms here, so all these will get made only when i get my ktichen back.. the stew looks perfect!

  12. A delicious looking late-summer stew, will definitely be trying this one. Thank you so much for all your entires into Simple and in Season this month, a round-up will follow today.

  13. This looks right up my alley! And perfect, because I haven’t tried yellow lentils yet :p

  14. squash-lentil soup looks fabulous and just right for this season, and with coconut..yumm… will definitely try it your way..thanks so much for sending it to Healing foods event.


  15. […] And finally from The Taste Space, a recipe which I will definitely be trying Butternut Squash, Coconut and Lentil Soup (Aarti’s Indian Summer Stew) […]

  16. That sounds like my checklist too 🙂 But I wish I could add one more thing: man to help with blogging! I bet that sure helps when blogging starts to feel like a chore!

    • Trust me, I try to get Rob to help with the blogging! It doesn’t always work, though. But really, I am just happy he helps by making delicious meals. 🙂 Bonus if they come from my list of meals to make. 😉

  17. Sounds delicious. I’ve seen toor dal but never bought it – it looks kind of oily in the packet. But I think you might’ve inspired me to get some next time I’m at the Indian store 😉

  18. We’ll try this soon, it is a great excuse to use the fresh coconuts here and looks lovely, great pic!

  19. I just made this for dinner and I’m SO glad I tried it! It was so flavourful, I couldn’t stop saying “mmm” after every bite! I also managed to find the large flake coconut, so I used that and loved the texture. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  20. I’m happy you share Rob’s dishes too! This soup sounds amazing. I really need to branch out from red split peas.

  21. Congratulations on winning NCR – I love this sound of this stew – using coconut flakes instead of coconut milk seems a nice twist on the usual sort of coconut stews I have

  22. […] Butternut Squash, Coconut and Lentil Stew from Janet of […]

  23. […] of delicious things, I made this Butternut Squash, Coconut, and Lentil Stew using one of our homegrown butternuts. While I didn’t have the recommended toor dal, […]

  24. […] I am still a weakling with regards to chilis and peppers, my tolerance towards garlic has definitely increased over the […]

  25. This was delicious! I left out the red pepper flakes because I’m very sensitive to spicy foods since I’ve been on a high raw diet.

  26. […] a curry I spotted on Natalie’s lovely blog, Cook Eat Live Vegetarian, and again it passed my checklist for Rob: tamarind, coconut, curry, sweet potato (or squash) and pineapple. In fact, the ingredients look so […]

  27. […] lime juice, cinnamon, cilantro and even mint! (Aside, can you see how different my tastes are from Rob’s coconut-tamarind-chile love trifecta? Although I love tamarind, […]

  28. […] is a delicious curry, and as I made it, I couldn’t help but remember Aarti’s butternut squash, coconut and lentil stew that Rob made in the fall. I consider Iyer’s recipes quite authentic, so I was wondering […]

  29. […] and mangoes while I relish in berries. Rob loves spicy foods, so if cooking for himself, he usually increases the chilies. If cooking for both of us, they fall more into my own comfort zone (1/2 tsp Aleppo max!). Rob also […]

  30. […] seeds, but this was fabulous.  If you like this soup, I also recommend these similar stews: Butternut squash, coconut and lentil stew and Plantains and cabbage with split […]

  31. […] (Baingan Bharta with Chickpeas) Indian Eggplant and Lentil Curry (Dal Bhat Meets Baingan Bharta) Butternut Squash, Coconut, and Lentil Stew (Aarti’s Indian Summer Stew) Cauliflower, Spinach and Chickpea Balti Tamarind Lentils Indian Chickpea and Collard Roulade with a […]

  32. […] Butternut Squash, Coconut and Lentil Stew (Aarti’s Indian Summer Stew) […]

  33. […] ago and begrudgingly started eating through the toor dal. Not that we don’t love it (WE LOVE TOOR DAL) but it just takes longer to cook and time is something we are lacking right […]

  34. This dish did not work out for me. It was an odd mix of too many flavors. I think it could do without the tomato, cumin, lime and coconut, and instead increase the tumeric, and add cardamon which lets the flavor of butternut shine through. Now I need to figure out how to salvage my dish.

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