Day 5 of the 12 Days of Caravan-Serai Cooking

December 11, 2013by Brenda

Ari’ w Adas (Squash & Lentil Stew)

This is a favorite from The Gaza Kitchen: a Palestinian Culinary Journey, by Laila El-Haddad and Maggie Schmitt. If you pick up this cookbook, you will find it on page 64.


6-7 Cups chopped pumpkin or butternut squash
1 Cup red lentils, rinsed
1 onion, chopped
6 Cups water or broth
5 Cloves of garlic
1 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp dried red pepper flakes
3/4 Tsp cumin
Juice of one lemon
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste


Peel and cube the squash into bite-size pieces. Rinse lentils and set aside. In a large pot, sauté chopped onion in 2 Tbs olive oil until golden. Add chopped squash and continue to sauté and additional 3 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Add lentils and broth or water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 25 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Squash should fall apart at the touch of a spoon. Mix well with wooden spoon or whisk, then stir in cumin, dried red pepper flakes and lemon juice. Adjust for salt and transfer to serving dish.
Crush garlic with a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle, then in a separate pan, fry crushed garlic in 3 Tbs of olive oil until golden. Pour garlic and olive oil onto stew and serve hot with toasted pieces of Arabic bread and olives.

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