This looks like a lot of work, but it’s not really…A very tasty dish–serve with basmati rice and greens.

2 lbs winter squash(es)
1/3 c shredded unsweetened coconut
1-1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 c very hot water
1/2 c yellow split peas or red lentils
1 t fennel seeds
1 c water or broth
1/2 t salt
1/2 t turmeric
1 T vegetable oil or ghee
1 t black mustard seeds
1/2 t dried red pepper flakes

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Pierce squash(es) in several places with a knife and place on a cookie sheet. Put in oven. Bake until tender, anywhere from 45 minutes to over an hour, depending on the size of the squash(es). Let cool enough to handle.

2. Meanwhile, stir coconut and ground cumin into the 1/2 cup of hot water. Set aside.

3. Combine split peas, fennel seeds, and one cup of water or broth in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, partially cover, and cook until peas are soft, about 30 minutes. The peas will absorb most but not all of the water. Remove from heat. If necessary, add more water or broth so the cooked peas have the consistency of oatmeal. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir well.

4. Puree the coconut and cumin and their soaking water in a blender.

5. Peel and seed squash and cut into 3/4 inch cubes–you should have about 6 cups. Combine squash, peas, and coconut mixture in a saucepan. Add turmeric. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then lower heat and cook until mixture is heated through, about 3 to 5 minutes.

6. In a small, heavy pan, heat the oil or ghee over medium-high heat; add the mustard seeds and red pepper flakes. When the mustard seeds start to pop, turn off the heat. Cover and let stand until the popping stops. Add the seeds and pepper flakes to the squash mixture. Stir well.