Squash and lentil curry with Thai gremolata

Serves 6 Starters and mains

COLOUR CORRECT 133 squash lentil curry copy



  • 1tbsp ground cumin or 1tsp seeds
  • 1tbsp ground coriander or 1tsp seeds
  • 1tsp ground turmeric
  • 2tbsp ghee or oil
  • 1 large butternut squash (around 1.2kg)
  • 400g split red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 × 400ml can coconut milk
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock or bone broth
  • 1 1⁄2 tbsp tamari
  • 1tbsp fish sauce or extra tamari

For the curry paste

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 onions, halved, or 3 shallots
  • 1 lemongrass stalk or peel from 1⁄2 lemon (no white pith)
  • 1-2 fresh chillies or chilli flakes, to taste
  • 1 thumb ginger, roughly chopped

For the Thai gremolata

  • 1 handful peanuts or cashews
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • juice and zest 2 limes
  • 1-2 fresh chillies, to taste
  • 4tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 big handful fresh coriander, leaves and stems
  • 1 big handful fresh basil or Thai basil, leaves and stems, plus a little mint if you like (leaves only for the mint)


Toast the peanuts or cashews for the gremolata for a minute in a large, deep-sided saucepan until golden and set aside.

Make the curry paste by blitzing the garlic, onion, lemongrass, chilli and ginger in a food processor – it doesn’t need to be totally smooth.

Add the spices to the pan you used for the nuts and let them toast for a minute, then add the curry paste and the ghee or oil and fry gently for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the squash into 2cm chunks. You don't need to peel it; just remove the seeds, which you can toast or roast to use in another recipe.

Add the squash and lentils to the pan with the coconut milk and stock or broth. Give it a stir, then pop a lid on and simmer over a medium heat for around 25 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Stir every 5 minutes or so, watching out so the lentils don’t catch on the bottom of the pan and adding more liquid if it looks dry or if you like it soupier. Season with tamari, fish sauce or a little salt.

While the curry is cooking, make the gremolata. Add the toasted nuts to the food processor (no need to wash it out from earlier) with all the other ingredients and pulse until just chopped – it should be drier and chunkier than a pesto. Serve the curry with a good dollop of gremolata on top.

This recipe was taken from the April 2020 issue of Food and Travel.

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Recipe and photo taken from Eat Green by Melissa Hemsley. Photo by Phillipa Langley (Ebury Press, £22)
COLOUR CORRECT 133 squash lentil curry copy
Recipe and photo taken from Eat Green by Melissa Hemsley. Photo by Phillipa Langley (Ebury Press, £22)


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