Spice up your weekday dinners with this Squash and Lentil Curry with Thai Gremolata by Mel Hemsley.
This recipe makes a huge batch, perfect for freezing portions for a rainy day. Note that the flavour bomb comes from the topping, which is inspired by Italian gremolata, but here it’s made Thai-style with lime, basil and coriander. Don’t skip it!
1 tbsp ground cumin or 1 tsp seeds 1 tbsp ground coriander or 1 tsp seeds 1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp ghee or oil
1 large butternut squash (about 1.2kg) 400g split red lentils, rinsed
1 × 400ml tin of full-fat coconut milk
1.5 litres vegetable stock or bone broth
11/2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp fish sauce or extra tamari Sea salt
FOR THE CURRY PASTE
4 garlic cloves
2 onions, halved, or 3 shallots 1
lemongrass stalk or peel from 1/2 lemon (no white pith)
1–2 fresh chillies or chilli flakes, to taste
1 thumb of ginger, roughly chopped
FOR THE THAI GREMOLATA
1 handful of peanuts or cashews 2 garlic cloves
Juice and zest of 2 limes
1–2 fresh chillies, to taste, seeds included if you like
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 big handful of fresh coriander, leaves and stems
1 big handful of fresh basil or Thai basil, leaves and stems, plus a little mint if you like (leaves only for the mint)
1. Toast the peanuts or cashews for the gremolata for a minute in a large, deep-sided saucepan until golden and set aside.
2. Make the curry paste by blitzing the garlic, onion, lemongrass, chilli and ginger in a food processor – it doesn’t need to be totally smooth.
3. Add the spices to the pan you used for the nuts and let them toast for a minute, then add the curry paste and the ghee or oil and fry gently for 5 minutes.
4.Meanwhile chop the squash into 2cm chunks. I don’t bother peeling it, just remove the seeds, which you can toast or roast for another recipe (page 134).
5. Add the squash and lentils to the pan with the coconut milk and stock or broth. Give it a stir, then pop a lid on and let simmer over a medium heat for about 25 minutes or until the squash is tender. Stir every 5 minutes or so, watching out so the lentils don’t catch on the bottom of the pan, and adding more liquid if it looks dry or if you like it soupier. Season with tamari, fish sauce or a little salt.
6. While the curry is cooking, make the gremolata. Add the toasted nuts to the food processor (no need to wash it out from earlier) with all the other ingredients and pulse until just chopped – it should be drier and chunkier than pesto and full of flavour and tang. Serve the curry with a good dollop of gremolata on top.
This recipe is from Melissa’s most recent book Eat Green. You can buy it here!