Curried Squash and Chana Dal Soup

Curried Squash and Chana Dal Soup

I’m slowly but surely starting to get back on with the normal routine of things after the craziness of the last month, which is something of a relief, because I think my head might have ‘sploded if things kept up at the pace they were at. As I mentioned, my friend’s mother died, but the full on crazy didn’t stop there, because shortly afterwards (like – the evening after the memorial) I came down with what can only be described as The Worst Flu Of All Time. ALL TIME.

Roasted Butternut
-Roasted Butternut Squash

The flu had me laid up for a week solid, at of course – the worst time possible, since it was the week before Pantheacon. As if I wasn’t already stressed out and nervous, I now need to be rushed and frantic trying to get everything done the couple of days before, because I had been sick. Thankfully, after a couple of long days, I was able to get everything I needed to get done, done, go to Pantheacon and have a (mostly) good time. Amusingly, I did end up attending a seminar entitled “Sacred Seasons, Sacred Meals: Seasonal Food & Sustainability”, and the best thing I can say about it is that it’s inspired me to consider applying to do a seminar next year on Sustainable & Seasonal foods. Who knows if it’ll get accepted… But I think I might have to try, because it was just that bad.

Coarsely Chopped Garlic
-Coarsely Chopped Garlic
Onion Slices
-Sliced Onions
Blender Onions and squash
-Blender filled with Sauteed Onions, Garlic, and Squash

One of the things that I try really hard to do as a general rule is have low-maintenance things cooking in the background while I straighten up around the house, make dinner, or whatever. Roasting a whole squash is one of those easy background processes that after you’ve done it a couple of times – you’ll think to yourself, why did I ever buy canned pumpkin? I mean, it requires next to no babysitting, it’s really hard to mess up, and the results are so easy and delicious. Cooking beans or whole grains for later use is also a good use of down time at home. I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before, but – if you have a couple of hours where you’re going to be at home and can breeze through the kitchen every so often – you can make beans.

Jar of Chana Dal
-Cooked Chana Dal
Blender of Beans
-Pureed Chana Dal
Spice Paste
-Spice Paste

In my recent fascination with all things Legume, I picked up these beans at a trip to the bulk-bins. They were simply listed as “Baby Garbanzos/Chana Dal” – which tickled my fancy a little bit, because I love trying out new things, and I’d never heard of Baby Garbanzo beans before. Upon closer inspection and a google search or two, I discovered that they’re really more like split Garbanzo beans. I had half of the pound earmarked for a Hummus, that I haven’t made yet, but for the other half I needed a little inspiration – so I looked around for some ideas and came across this site that waxes eloquent about the wonders of Chana Dal, which is where I came across the inspiration for this soup.

Full SIde Chana Dal SOup
-Side View, Curried Squash and Chana Dal Soup Bowl

All things considered, if you are like me, and try to keep cooked beans and other conveniences like roasted squash in the fridge, this soup will go together so fast it will make your family’s head spin. 0-to-soup in 15 minutes or so. Not quite as quick as Campbells, sure – but not shabby at all, and much healthier and tastier. Plus, if you like it spicier, you can always kick it up a notch by adding in some extra chili powder, or what have you. The measurements on the spices are rough estimates. I strongly recommend adding spices to taste, because a lot of things can affect the flavor – age of your spices, the particular blend of curry, how hot/spicy/whatever you like it, etc…

Top Curried Squash and Chana Dal Soup
-Top View, Curried Squash and Chana Dal Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart Pureed Butternut Squash*
  • 1 quart Cooked Chana Dal in Cooking Liquid**
  • 1 quart Stock or Leftover Chana Dal Cooking Liquid
  • 1 onion; sliced
  • 4 cloves Garlic; coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup White Wine
  • 1/4 cup Brown Rice Vinegar (or to taste)
  • 2 tbs Butter
  • 1 tbs Grated Ginger
  • 1 tbs Curry Powder (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt

Method:

  • Heat the Olive Oil in a large pot over medium heat
  • Add the Onions and saute until tender and edges are beginning to turn golden
  • Reduce heat and add the coarsely chopped Garlic
  • Gently cook for about a minute to heat the garlic thoroughly
  • Working in batches, puree the Chana Dal, onions, garlic, and butternut squash together
  • Return puree to pot and add the Stock (or leftover Chana Dal Cooking Liquid, if you have it)
  • Heat on low, gently, until warmed through
  • Stir in the White Wine, Rice Vinegar (to taste), Ginger, Butter and Kosher Salt (to taste)
  • In a small bowl, stir together the curry powder, cumin, and chili powder
  • Take a spoonful or two of the soup, and stir together with the spice mixture to create a paste, this will help keep the spices from clumping instead of mixing in smoothly
  • Add additional soup until paste becomes thinned
  • Working to taste, add the thinned paste mixture to the soup until desired spice/heat level is reached
  • Remove from Heat and stir in the Sesame Oil
  • Serve Immediately

*To make your own Butternut Squash Puree, roast whole butternut squash in a 400° oven until tender. Allow to cool, remove and discard seeds and peel, and puree. One medium Butternut = appx 1 quart puree

**To cook Chana Dal, (or any other bean for that matter) Soak overnight (or atleast a few hours), place in a heavy pot with lid. Add 1 quart or so of stock, a bay leaf, a sprig of rosemary (optional), a sprig of Thyme (optional), and enough water to cover the beans by at least an inch. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer, once beans begin to soften, add a couple of liberal pinches of kosher salt, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until cooked to desired tenderness.

Spoon Side Curried Squash and Chana Dal Soup
-Curried Squash and Chana Dal Soup

One Response to “Curried Squash and Chana Dal Soup”

  1. It looks delicious! What a lovely cup too :)

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