Make Ahead

Sweet and Sour Red Lentils with Winter Squash and Black-Eyed Peas

October  3, 2016
4 Ratings
Photo by Rinku Bhattacharya /Spice Chronicles
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

I had stumbled upon this homey dish unexpectedly on a chance visit to someone’s home. I was mesmerized by the complexity of textures and flavors and asked the chef for the process. What she described to me seemed implausible and too simple. Essentially, her process could be broken down to, throw ingredients into a pot, and simmer forever, stir and temper.
However last weekend I was home alone, feeling a little gloomy and was staring at the sweet potatoes that I had on hand. This dish seemed like the perfect thing to make, soothing, comforting and seasonal. Following memory and instincts I put this together and was rewarded with flavorful goodness. The preferred squash to use is something sweet like butternut squash, but any other squash works as well. —Rinku Bhattacharya /Spice Chronicles

What You'll Need
  • For the Lentils
  • 1/2 cup red masoor lentils
  • 3/4 pound winter squash (such as butternut or kabocha) cubed and peeled
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon red cayenne pepper (more to taste, if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon teaspoons powdered cumin
  • 2 tomatoes chopped, or 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup black-eyed peas
  • For the tempering
  • 2 tablespoons oil or clarified butter (ghee)
  • 1.5 teaspoons black mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 lime or lemon halved
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro to finish
  1. Place the red lentils, pumpkin or sweet potato and water in a heavy bottomed pot. Add in the water, salt, ginger, garlic, turmeric, cayenne pepper, cumin, tomatoes and black eyed peas.
  2. Bring the ingredients to a simmer, cover and cook for about 1 hour.
  3. Remove the lid and stir the mixture gently with a wooden spoon, until the red lentils and the squash mix together to form a smooth puree leaving the black eyed peas whole.
  4. In a separate pan, heat the oil and add in the mustard seeds and when they crackle add in the garlic and sauté until the garlic is fragrant.
  5. Pour the tempering over the lentils and stir well. Squeeze in the lime juice and garnish with cilantro and serve with rice and flat breads.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • cholula
  • Emily Davison
    Emily Davison
  • Tashipluto

3 Reviews

Emily D. February 17, 2022
This was very easy. I sautéed some chopped onion before adding the squash and the spices. I used a 14 ounce can of tomatoes. It does need lime juice at the end since it is sweet. I also added a dollop of yogurt to each bowl along with the chopped cilantro.It made a soup dinner for two with a small amount leftover for lunch. I did not add the black-eyed peas.
Tashipluto October 9, 2016
I was going to test this recipe, but wondering about the blackeye peas -- canned, pre-soaked, or raw when added to the recipe?
cholula December 25, 2020
I just made this as an appetizer. Because it cooks for an hour, I used dried. It worked out great. I followed the recipe as stated. You think wow that's a lot of spice. But it was perfect for my taste. I served it with a dollop of sour cream. Good. I will make it again.