What’s in a Name!

Green Lentils, Butternut Squash & Watercress Instant (Pot) Dal

Is it me or has everything suddenly picked up speed? We just went 0 to no-time-to-wash-that-hair in less than a month. (Considering that my hair barely touches my shoulders, I seriously need to plan my days better) 

No, I’m not much of a planner, and sometimes in  life, that’s seriously not such a bad thing. Like yesterday when I realized I had 4 very haphazardly mismatched ingredients in my refrigerator and I had about an hour to go before dinner but we ended up with a really nutritious dinner anyway. Necessities are absolutely the mother of all inventions, especially in my kitchen. 

Considering how ridiculous it’s conception was, this dal is pretty darn delicious . But wait for the best part, it’s pretty versatile and can easily be disguised as vegan chili (when thick, along with some toppings), soup (by itself) or dal (if you water it down).  Super healthy and hearty and ready in less than 30 mins. You’re welcome!! 


  • 1 cup green lentils 
  • 2 tbsp coconut/olive/conola oil
  • 1 tsp each of fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds (no need to stress if you’re missing any)
  • 1/2 onion (red/yellow) sliced
  • 1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste 
  • 1 cup chopped Butternut squash 
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes (my hands are pretty large) 
  • 1 cup chopped watercress leaves 
  • 1 tbsp each of paprika & pav bhaji / chhole masala 
  • 1 tsp each of cumin powder & curry powder
  • 1 tbsp cayenne (optional, if you’re into spicy) 
  • Salt to taste 
  • Water to cook 


  1. Wash and soak the lentils for about 30 minutes.
  2. Set the Instant Pot on Sauté mode.
  3. Heat the oil, and fry the assorted seeds.
  4. Add the onions and fry until golden brown. Add the ginger and garlic paste, and mix well. 
  5. Add the squash, tomatoes & watercress and sauté for another minute.
  6. Add the soaked and drained lentils.
  7. Add about a cup of water, just enough to cover the veggies & lentils. (Mine reached the 4 cup mark in the Pot.)
  8. Add all the other ingredients, mix and cover with the lid. 
  9. Switch to Manual and reduce the time to 10 minutes while sealing. 
  10. Once the timer goes off, do a quick release and adjust the consistency to your preference. Definitely serve hot! (Whatever you might be serving it as) 

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