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Lentil and Vegetable Ragout (Korma)

1 cup yellow lentils or yellow split peas
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3 cups bottleneck squash, or 3 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped onions
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 cup roasted peanuts or cashew nuts
Coarse salt
Spice-infused butter:
2 tablespoons usli ghee (recipe follows) or light vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoons asafetida or minced garlic
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup coriander leaves
Lemon slices

Put the lentils and turmeric in a deep pot. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cook lentils, gently simmering, partially covered, until cooked but still hold their shape, about 30 minutes. Stir a few times during cooking to ensure the lentils are not sticking to the pan and burning. Add more water if necessary. Add squash, tomatoes, onions and curry powder and mix well. Cook for 10 minutes or until the vegetables and lentils are tender. Stir in the nuts and salt; cover and set aside. Heat the ghee or oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add cumin and cook until the spice turns several shades darker. Add asafetida and crushed pepper. Let spices sizzle for a minute then put the entire contents of the pan over the lentil-vegetable mixture. Add coriander and stir just a few times to mix lightly. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve with deep fried balloon bread.
1 stick butter
Heat stick of butter in a small saucepan over low-heat until fully melted, 5 minutes. Increase heat and cook the butter until all its moisture evaporates and the milk solids turn brown, and the clear fat will turn golden amber, about 5 minutes. Strain the clear fat usli ghee into a jar. Yield: 1/3 cup Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour