There is something so homey and comforting about lentils. Whether it's in a soup or cooked with smokey bacon as a side dish, lentils seem to always hit the spot to warm the soul.
The wholesomeness of lentils is also delicious in this vegetarian curry, with the sweetness of the kabocha, the slight bitterness of the kale, and the aromatic spices. So homey. So filling. You won't even miss the meat. And it makes for wonderful leftovers the next day!
If you don't like kale, substitute it with spinach. Likewise, the lentils can be swapped with chickpeas, mung beans, or other kinds of legumes.
Lentil, Pumpkin and Kale Curry
Adapted from Wholesome Kitchen
1 cup dried Puy lentils
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons, finely grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 fresh chillies, seeded and finely chopped
8 curry leaves, dried or fresh
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 small kabocha squash, diced
1 14-oz can whole tomatoes, chopped
2 large handfuls fresh kale laves, chopped
Large handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Put the lentils in a saucepan with 3 1/2 cups salted cold water and set over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook for about 25 minutes, until tender yet still firm to the bite. Drain well and set aside.
Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, chillies and curry leaves. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture is aromatic. Stir in the turmeric and cumin and cook for 1 minute more.
Add the kabocha, tomatoes, lentils, and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a medium simmer and cook for 15 minutes, until the kabocha are tender and the mung beans are soft and breaking up. Stir in the kale and cilantro and cook for a couple of minutes, until the kale has wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with toasted sourdough rubbed with some garlic, Indian naan, roti, or any other bread of your choice.