Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Vegan Malaysian Butternut Squash and Lentil Curry

Even though I am a cookbook hoarder, I am more than happy supporting our local libraries, especially as libraries all over the country are being threatened with closure and some have already sadly closed their doors. 

Well the most recent cookbook to fall into my mitts is by Hemsley Hemsley.  It's not a vegan or vegetarian cookbook, but it does have some stylish recipes that appeal to the eye.  But the one that I chose to make was down to earth and homely.  It was the Squash, Red Lentil and Coconut Curry.  The other reason I wanted to make this was that I wanted to use my own home-made Malaysian spice mix.  The recipe had been given to me by my Malaysian neighbours when I lived in Scotland.  It's very similar to this one by  A taste of memories - Echo's Kitchen.
Anyway, back to the cookbook, I have to admit I did not follow the original recipe as instructed. For a start the recipe in the cookbook uses 'bone broth' which is essentially old fashioned 'meat stock' dressed up in emperors new clothes.  A recipe for this features in the cookbook, of course this can easily be substituted for vegetable stock, but once I started reading the recipe I  decided to approach it the way I would do an Indian style vegan curry, sauteing the onion and garlic in vegetable oil, then adding in the spices. I have linked to the original recipe below, as well as my own adaptation.

It made for a nice, warming and filling dish.  Even though the flavour of the star anise and fennel seeds (from the Malaysian spice mix) came through, D said it was one of 'the most curried dishes' that he had had in ages.  This golden stew-like curry recipe makes a large portion, so we have been enjoying it over 3 days, first with rice, then crusty bread and today, rice again.   

Malaysian Butternut Squash, Lentil and Coconut Curry
Serves 6 (eaten over 3 days)
For the Malaysian spice mix
Follow this recipe from A taste of memories - Echo's Kitchen and keep in a jar*.
fennel seeds, star anise, black pepper, coriander, cumin, cloves, chilli flakes, cardamon, cinnamon
For the pot
3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
3 onions, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
small knob of ginger, peeled and grated
4 tablespoons of Malaysian spice mix (see above*)
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into bite size chunks
400g red lentils, rinsed
700ml vegetable stock
1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
Salt to taste
Chilli flakes to taste (optional)
Handful of parsley or coriander
Heat the oil in a wide pan, then add in the onions and saute until translucent, then stir in the garlic and ginger and cook until soft.  Stir in the spices, then the butternut squash until well coated with the spicy onion mixture.  Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to the boil, then stir in the lentils and reduce heat.  Cook on medium heat for 20 - 30 minutes until the butternut squash is tender and the lentils well cooked and pulpy.  Adjust seasoning if necessary, then finally stir in the coconut milk and herbs, bring to a light simmer.  Then serve with rice, naan bread or crusty bread. Here is the link to the original recipe by Hemsley and Hemsley.


  1. This looks like a very nice dish and it's also admirable to support your local library. It's so sad to see them in decline as I spent some of my happiest times in libraries (haha what a bookworm!). However I also love to own books and one day I will have a flat or house big enough to have a library room again. :)

    1. Thanks VegHog. I need to take out more than just cookbooks thought :) Oneday hope you get that big room to call a library!

  2. I think coconut curry has to be my favourite. This looks simply wonderful. I love the textures going on here. Really fab and perfectly warming for these cold days!

    1. Thanks Dom, you are always very kind.

  3. YUM! I love butternut squash...

    ~Have a lovely day!

  4. Yum! I just had lentils today (& yesterday) but they had potato. I have tried them with butternut squash before and they taste heavenly!<3


  5. Right up my alley, being curry and all, you know, Shaheen?
    I am definitely going to try this recipe.
    Sounds delicious. Boy am I glad I stopped by your blog after dinner :)

    Have a Beautiful Day!
    Peace :)

    1. Yes Chandra, I can imagine this is your kind of dish. Hope your well xxxx

  6. Hi Shaheen!
    Another great recipe. I LOVE the way you made the recipe all your own. I often do that when following a recipe but oh too soon I forget what changes I made, lol...

    I was actually yesterday and even pinned your recipe for Vegan Welsh Cakes. I was interrupted by Marion calling my name before I had a chance to comment. (she hasn't been feeling well lately) Anyway, thank you so much for sharing the recipes. As you know, I somewhat of a cookbook hoarder myself but I do try to patronize the libraries as often as I can:)

    Thank you so much for sharing, Shaheen...

    P.S. Tomorrow, Wednesday, is going to be the last week for Cookbook Wednesday for a while. You are more than welcome to join if you like. I'm also doing a round-up of all the books that have been shared tomorrow:)

    1. Thanks Louise. That is us home cooks forget following the recipe and make it our own. I hope Marion is feeling better now.

      I am so sorry that I have not had a change to participate in Cookbook Wednesday, I will come by at the weekend and see a round up of all the books shared so far, maybe you should do it just on a monthly basis, rather than weekly, hopefully you will start doing it again. I am genuinely sorry that I did not get time to be part of it.

    2. Hi Shaheen,
      Not to worry, Cookbook Wednesay seems to be quite popular. I am going to regroup for a while and probably go back to it in the near future. In the mean time, I do hope you get to see the round-up. It's full of interesting cookbooks!!!

      Thanks for asking about Marion. She is doing fantabulous!!!

    3. Thank you. Please give me a nudge when you do kickstart it again, I will do my utmost to participate. I will def.come by later to check out the cookbooks,

  7. Curry is one of my most favourite meals, this one looks delicious. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Looks great as always!


    1. So so lovely to hear from you Vic, happy that life is keeping you busy and content.

  9. I do love butternut squash.... and lentils...... and coconut.Lovely recipe! The spice combination sounds wonderfully aromatic and flavourful. It's great when you have a dish that you can eat in several ways over several days and with curries, they often taste better and better as the days go on!

    1. Thank you Kate. I hope to make this again and ring the changes a little next time, even moreseo - maybe even change the veg.

  10. Hi Shaheen,

    Yum! This looks so good. Hemsley & Hemsley do some really great recipes but I've always been hesitant seeing as they use meat - substituting was a great idea.

    Besma (http://www.curiouslyconscious.com)

    1. Thank you Besma.
      Hope your keeping well.

  11. I have had a lot of curries but not any Malaysian. The fennel and star anise sound like a delicious new twist. :)

    1. Thanks Janet, its looks like an Indian style curry - but the taste is very different and quite nice too.


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