Malaysian Squash & Courgette Rending With Red Lentils |
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Total Time: 40 Minutes

Serves 4

This warming, hearty meal will soon become a regular in your autumn dinner repertoire. The squash, red pepper and courgette provide fabulous colour, and the added split red lentils result in a thick sauce that’s nutritionally balanced.


  • Olive oil
  • 8–10 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp of whole cloves
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, torn into quarters
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3–4cm chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and cut into 2–3cm chunks
  • 150g of red split lentils
  • 400ml of coconut milk
  • 400m of vegetable stock
  • Handful coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp of agave or maple syrup
  • 2 medium courgettes, cut into 2–3cm chunks
  • Flaked sea salt
  • Lime wedges, to serve


  • 4 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, roughly chopped
  • 2½cm piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2½cm piece of galangal, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 2 long red chillies, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp of tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp of sunflower or groundnut oil
  • 1 tsp of flaked sea salt


  1. To make the spice paste, put all the ingredients into a small food processor or blender and blitz to form a smooth paste. Set aside or keep covered in the fridge for up to one week.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the paste and fry for a minute or so. Add the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, cloves and lime leaves. Fry for a further minute, then add the butternut squash, red pepper and lentils. Stir around to coat in the paste, then pour in the coconut milk and stock. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a small dry frying pan over a medium heat. Add the coconut flakes and agave/maple syrup, and toss around in the pan until golden and crisp. Remove from the heat.
  4. Stir the courgette into the curry. Return to a simmer and continue to cook, with the lid off, for a further 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste. 
  5. Serve the curry in bowls and scatter over the coconut. Serve with lime to squeeze over.

The spice paste can be used in the same way as above to make a chicken rendang. Swap the squash, lentils and courgette for 4 large chicken breasts (cut into chunks) and cook as above. You won’t need to use the vegetable stock as this is only needed when using lentils. Reduce the simmering time to just 10 minutes in total, rather than 20 minutes. If you fancy adding a vegetable such as baby corn or green beans, then add when the chicken is half cooked.


Recipe extracted from The Flexible Vegetarian by Jo Pratt (£13.60, Frances Lincoln)

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