There’s nothing heartier than a delish lentil curry to welcome spring. I make lentils or dhal every single week without fail so trust me when I say I know a thing or two about finding and making recipes that taste banging. Because I love to share, here’s a crispy sweet potato and coconut dhal recipe you’re soon going to fall in love with.
Anna Jones, author of the bestselling recipes books A Modern Way to Eat, A Modern Way to Cook and The Modern Cook’s Year, came into my life when I was struggling to find something both comforting and new to cook.
Here’s what you’ll need (serves four):
For the sweet potatoes
- 2 sweet potatoes, skins on, washed and roughly chopped into 1.5cm cubes
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tspn cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- Olive oil
For the dhal
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 thumb-size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 green chilli, finely chopped
- 1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tspn cumin seeds
- 1 tspn coriander seeds
- 1 tspn ground turmeric
- 1 tspn ground cinnamon
- 200g red lentils
- 1 × 400ml tin of coconut milk
- 400ml vegetable stock
- 2 large handfuls of spinach
- A bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped, stalks and all
- Juice of 1 lemon
For the coconut chutney
- 50g unsweetened desiccated coconut
- 1 tspn black mustard seeds
- 10 curry leaves
- A little vegetable or coconut oil
- 20g piece of fresh ginger, grated
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
- Preheat your oven to 220 degree Celsius.
- Put your desiccated coconut in a bowl and pour 150ml of boiling water over it. You’ll come back to this later.
- Place your chopped up sweet potatoes on a roasting tray, cover them with salt, pepper, cumin and fennel seeds. Drizzle them with oil and send them straight to the oven to roast for 20-25 minutes or until they’re soft in the middle and crispy on the outside.
- Heat up a little oil in a large saucepan and fry the garlic, ginger, chilli and red onion for about 10 minutes, or until soft and sweet.
- Grind your cumin and coriander seeds and add to the saucepan with the other spices. Let it toast for a couple of minutes. You should see the oils release.
- Next up, throw in your lentils, coconut milk and stock to the pan. Bring this to simmer before reducing the heat to let it cook away for 25-30 minutes.
- Use this time to make your coconut chutney. Drain the coconut (step two) and add it back to your bowl.
- Heat up a little oil in a small pan and fry off the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once they start to crackle, pour the mixture on top of your coconut.
- Add salt, pepper, ginger and chilli and give your chutney a good mix.
- Once your dhal is cooked, remove the saucepan from the heat and add in the spinach. Let it wilt a little then throw in the chopped coriander and lemon juice.
- To serve, pile your dhal into bowls. Put the crispy sweet potatoes on top along with some of the coconut chutney and remaining coriander leaves.
- You can eat this with naan bread or rice for more of the carb-y love.
- If you’re feeling particularly lazy, skip the coconut chutney and use a jar of pickled achar if you have one in the fridge. It’ll give your dish some tangy heat.
- Since I’m a big fan of spicy food, I’d suggest dialing up the amount of red chillies you add to the dish if you can handle it.
For those who end up trying this recipe, let us know your thoughts in the comments. We’d especially love to hear from you if you have any variations on this recipe that’ll turn an already cracking dish up a notch or two.
This article has been updated since its original publication.