Sweet Potato and Coconut Dal


I made this sweet potato and coconut dal / dhal for dinner for Martin and I last night.

Earlier in the evening we had met up with friends for an “early doors” drink and when we got home we wanted something quick to prepare but tasty and this looked like it would fit the bill.

The original recipe is from a Rose Elliot book called Vegetarian Supercook which I have owned for about 10 years but it is still in print and easily available.  The book contains a number of vegan recipes as well as tips on how to “veganise” some of the vegetarian recipes so I suspect I might be referring to it quite a lot over the next few weeks as I have decided to be vegan for Lent this year.

The dhal (I spell it dhal, Rose Elliot spells it dal) took about 30 minutes from start to finish and a maximum of 5 minutes prep time.  I anticipated serving it with some chapattis just as it is but, when it was ready and we tasted it, we realised that wouldn’t quite be right.  This dish is incredibly sweet – absolutely delicious but very, very sweet.  Martin said it tasted almost like dessert which is, perhaps, going a little too far but I take his point.

Luckily, and I do mean luckily, we had some left over vegetable curry in the fridge.  I had planned to have it for my lunch today but we ate it last night instead and the dhal became a side dish.  In fact the dhal became an absolutely perfect side dish.

I will be making this again but only as an accompaniment to something with a spicy kick – the two balance each other perfectly.

Now – what am I going to have for lunch?..


1lb / 500g Sweet Potato

6 oz / 175g Split Red Lentils

1 or 2 Green Chillies, sliced

14 fl oz /400ml can Coconut Milk

3/4 pint / 450 ml Water

1 tsp Grated Fresh Ginger

1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Turmeric

Salt & Pepper

A generous handful of Chopped Coriander


Peel and dice the sweet potato.  Place it in a saucepan with the lentils, chilli, coconut milk and water.  Bring to the boil and then leave to cook gently, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes until the sweet potato and the lentils are soft and the mixture looks thick.

Stir in the ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and some salt and pepper, then cook gently for a few more minutes to blend in the flavours.  Sprinkle with coriander and serve.

NB The spices are added after the lentils are tender – adding them earlier can stop the lentils from softening properly.