Spicy Squash, Eggplant and Lentil Stew

Updated February 23, 2016


Indian Home Cooking

Published by Clarkson Potter

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This is my adaptation of a famous Parsi dish. At first, the lovely spices in the stew taste subtle and familiar. Then, as you keep eating they expand on your palate so that you get their full flavor and warmth. What I call the back heat-that is, the heat of the spices rather than the chiles-of this dish makes it hotter than any of the other recipes in this chapter. But it’s the kind of heat that invites you to keep on eating and eating. This recipe is a perfect one-pot meal. You can change the vegetables according to your taste and to what’s in the market. You can also change the proportion in which you use them. You can make the dish with 1¾ cups lentils or split peas alone, but a combination of the two gives the dish a greater complexity of flavor.

I particularly like this recipe for fall; it lends itself to fall vegetables and the colors are wonderful fall hues. Serve this with Plain Basmati Rice to make the kind of hearty weekend lunch one would eat at the Bombay Gymkhana or any of the elite clubs in Bombay, or for a festive dinner party.

Serves6 to 8

Cooking Methodstewing



Total Timeunder 1 hour

One Pot MealYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Mealdinner, lunch

Taste and Texturehot & spicy, savory, spiced

Type of Dishvegetable


  • 1 cup yellow split peas, picked over, washed, and drained
  • ¾ cup lentils, picked over, washed, and drained
  • 6½ cups water
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 to 2 fresh hot green chiles, minced
  • 2½ teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • ¾ pound tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cups skinned and seeded butternut squash chunks (1-inch), about 1 small squash
  • 5 cups eggplant chunks (1-inch) with skin (about 1 medium)
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 12 fresh spinach leaves, stemmed, washed, and torn into bite-size pieces
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds (optional)
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of ½ lemon




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