Pic of Spiced squash and lentil broth with warm pittas

Spiced squash and lentil broth with warm pittas

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Vegetarian mains

Spiced squash and lentil broth with warm pittas

Main Serves 2 30 min
Squash can seem daunting to prepare and cook quickly, but a good veg peeler will easily take off the skin, then use a dessert or teaspoon to quickly scoop out the seeds. Keeping the cubes of squash small helps them cook a bit quicker. Tempering spices (quickly frying in hot oil) releases their natural flavours. You want the seeds to pop slightly, but take care the oil doesn't get too hot, or the spices will burn and taste bitter. If sensitive to heat, hold back some chilli flakes; you can taste and add more at the end if you like.

Ingredients

  • 600g butternut squash (or any seasonal squash available)
  • oil for frying e.g. sunflower
  • ½ tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • ½ tbsp fenugreek
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp bouillon powder
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 tin lentils
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 4 pitta breads

Method

Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 20 min
  • Step 1

    Peel and halve the squash. Remove the seeds. Chop the flesh into 1-2cm chunks. Squash differ in size, so measure out 600g to use and save any spare for another meal.
  • Step 2

    Put a kettle on to boil. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan. Add the turmeric, ground ginger, fenugreek and chilli powder, fry for 30 secs - 1 min, until fragrant. Add the squash, bouillon powder and 700ml boiled water. Cover with a lid and return to a medium boil. Cook for approx. 20 mins, until the squash has softened. Stir occasionally.
  • Step 3

    Meanwhile, peel, halve and finely slice the onion. Peel and finely chop 1 garlic clove. Wash and roughly chop the tomatoes. Deseed and roughly chop the pepper. Add them all to the squash broth as soon as you've chopped them.
  • Step 4

    Drain and rinse the lentils in a sieve (they can clump together in the tin but will separate when rinsed). Add them to the broth straightaway too.
  • Step 5

    When the broth is nearly ready, heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and some or all of the chilli flakes. Fry for approx. 30 secs, until they smell fragrant and begin to pop. Pour them and their oil into the broth and stir.
  • Step 6

    Put 2 (or 4, if feeling hungry) pittas in the same frying pan. Warm over a low heat for 30 secs - 1 min each side, dragging them around the pan to mop up any residual spices.
  • Step 7

    Divide the broth between 2 bowls. Serve with the warmed pittas.

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