2 tablespoons grapeseed or other vegetable oil
1 medium onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
3 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 medium butternut squash (about 1 ½ pounds), peeled, seeded and diced (about 5 cups)
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
6 cups water
2 teaspoons butter or ghee
Plain yogurt, for garnish (optional)
Chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Heat oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until tender about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, 1 teaspoon mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute.
Stir in turmeric, squash, red lentils and 6 cups water. Turn up heat, add salt to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, skim off foam, cover and simmer 35 to 45 minutes, until squash and lentils are tender. Taste and adjust salt.
Puree soup using an immersion blender, or working in batches, in a blender (pull a towel down over the top of blender to avoid hot splashes). Return to pot if using blender. Add black pepper, taste and adjust salt, and heat through.
Just before serving, heat butter over medium heat in a small skillet or saucepan and add remaining 2 teaspoons mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon cumin seeds. Cook stirring, until seeds are lightly colored and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir into soup.
Serve with a generous dollop of yogurt and a sprinkling of cilantro, if desired.
Yield: 6 servings