2 tbsp vegetable oil (olive or coconut oil works too)
1 tsp whole mustard seeds
2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp coriander powder
2-4 curry leaves (optional)
2 tsp salt
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
lemon wedges for garish and serving
2 tbsp additional chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)
Heat oil in a pot at medium heat. Add cumin and mustard seeds* and toast until the cumin seeds become dark brown. Add in chopped and saute until onions become soft and translucent. Add minced garlic and grated ginger and stir until the garlic and ginger become fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add garam masala and cook for 30 seconds, until toasted. Add in tomato, salt, turmeric, red chili powder, and coriander powder. Cook until tomatoes melt into the mixture and the oil starts to separate from the rest of the mixture, about 3-5 minutes. Add curry leaves, if desired.
Add butternut squash and saute to combine with the tomato-onion mixture. Stir in lentils and slowly add water, 1 cup at a time. Turn heat down to low and simmer, cover the pot and let it cook for 20-25 minutes, until the lentils are cooked and squash has dissolved into the lentils.
Take off heat and stir in lemon juice and 3 tbsp cilantro.
Serve with lemon wedges and garnish with remaining cilantro, if desired. Serve with rice and/or crusty bread/chappati.
*the seeds will splatter so use a splatter screen if necessary or cover with a lid, leaving room for the heat and steam to escape