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Easy Sweet Potato Dahl

Indian cuisine is the gift that keeps on giving, and I’m all about it. If you’re into Indian food like me, you’ve gotta try this sweet potato and red lentil dahl. It’s rich, creamy, and seriously addictive!

Here’s a step by step video of the recipe, if you prefer:

📝 Ingredients I’ve used for this dahl

sweet potato dahl

Here are the ingredients I’ve used:

  • 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil: I’ve used regular sunflower oil, but coconut oil also works pretty well.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds and 1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • 1 onion: minced.
  • 3 garlic cloves: grated.
  • 1 inch of ginger: grated without the skin.
  • 1 green chilli pepper: for that spicy kick.
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika.
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 tomato: a medium-sized tomato.
  • 2 sweet potatoes: I’ve used 2 medium-sized purple sweet potatoes.
  • 1 cup of red lentils
  • Hot water: enough to cover the potatoes and red lentils.
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala: although it’s a spice, this one comes later in the cooking process.
  • 3 teaspoons of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut cream
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Unsweetened soy yogurt: once the dahl is served, I garnished it with soy yogurt. It significantly enhanced the flavor.

👨🏻‍🍳 Here’s how easy it is to make this dahl

First things first, I poured 4 tablespoons of sunflower oil into a pot and set it under medium heat for a few minutes, letting it warm up until hot.

(To check if the oil is ready, look for slight shimmering or rippling on the oil’s surface, or drop a single whole spice into the oil. If it sizzles immediately and rises to the surface, the oil is ready.)

Once the oil was ready, I tossed in ½ teaspoon of mustard seeds and ½ teaspoon of fennel seeds. They started sizzling and popping pretty quickly, which is exactly what you want— and don’t let it get to you if things get a bit messy.

prepping the flavor base with all the veggies and spices
stirring in the tomato paste and fresh tomatoes

I then quickly added 1 minced onion to the pot. Sautéed it until it was soft and slightly golden, and after that, I folded in the grated 3 cloves of garlic and about 1 inch of ginger. Then I followed with a fresh chilli pepper chopped to bits, stirring everything nicely for about 30-40 seconds.

Next, I threw in 1 teaspoon of ground coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon of cumin powder, ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder, and 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika. I stirred them around and let the spices temper for about 1 minute.

I stirred in 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, incorporating it well with all the ingredients, and then I added 1 diced tomato and 1 teaspoon of salt.

The tomato’s juice helps lift all the good stuff stuck to the bottom of the pan, so you don’t need to worry about deglazing with any extra liquid.

folded in the lentils and sweet potatoes
adding the water to the dahl

By this point, it was time to add the stars of the dish. I chopped up 2 sweet potatoes into small cubes (I used purple ones) and threw them in along with 1 cup of washed red lentils. I gave it all a good stir to incorporate those two ingredients with the flavor base.

Then, I poured in enough hot water to cover all the ingredients, cranked up the heat, and brought it to a boil. After a good stir, I put a lid on the pot and turned the temperature down to just under medium heat, letting it simmer for about 30 minutes while stirring occasionally.

Then once the sweet potatoes became soft, I stirred in 1 teaspoon of garam masala and 2 more teaspoons of salt. To get that characteristic dahl look, I mashed some of the lentils and sweet potatoes with a wooden spoon, until I got that mushy-like texture.

stirring in the coconut cream
The dish finally done with the fresh coriander, etc.

For added creaminess, I stirred in 3 tablespoons of coconut cream. This took the dahl to the next level and created a perfect balance in the dish.

I stirred the mixture thoroughly while cooking it over low heat and then added 12 grams of fresh cilantro. I allowed the dahl to simmer for an additional 5 minutes before turning off the heat.

sweet potato dahl

Finally, I served up the dahl in a bowl, drizzling some soy yogurt on top (please do this if you can), which gave the dahl a nice contrasting touch, both in terms of flavor and color.

And that was it! Super simple, packed with flavor, and perfect for any meal.

💬 Frequently asked questions

What can I use as a substitute for coconut cream?

If coconut cream isn’t available, full-fat coconut milk is a suitable substitute. Refrigerating the can for a few hours, allows the milk’s surface to thicken, letting you scoop out the creamier top layer to add to your dahl.

How spicy is this dahl? Can I adjust the heat?

This dahl is fairly mild, with just one fresh chili pepper. For a spicier kick, simply up the number of chilis in the recipe.

How do I store leftovers?

In an airtight container, this dahl can be stored in the fridge for 3 to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. The taste is even richer the next day!

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Easy Sweet Potato Dahl


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  • Author: Alexandre Valente
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 people 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This sweet potato and red lentil dahl is super comforting. It’s rich, creamy, and packed with flavor. Perfect for when you want something cozy and delicious without a lot of fuss. Trust me, you’ll be making this one on repeat!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 4 tbsp of sunflower oil
  • 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp of fennel seeds
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 inch of ginger, grated
  • 1 green chilli pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp of ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp of ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 2 medium purple sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup of red lentils, dry
  • Hot water (enough to cover all the ingredients)
  • 1 tsp of garam masala
  • 3 tsp of salt
  • 3 tbsp of coconut cream
  • 12 gr of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Unsweetened soy yogurt, to serve
  • lime juice, optional, to serve

Instructions

  1. Pour the vegetable oil into a pot and set it under medium heat, allowing the oil to heat up (see note).
  2. Add the mustard and fennel seeds to the hot oil and allow them to sizzle and start popping. 
  3. Once the popping sound gets a bit more intense, add the onion and sauté until it softens and develops a golden color.
  4. Add the garlic, ginger, and chilli pepper. Stir and sauté for about 40 seconds.
  5. Stir in the ground coriander seeds, cumin powder, turmeric powder, and smoked paprika. Stir and let the spices release their inner flavors, which should take about 1 minute.
  6. Stir in the tomato paste, followed by tomato and 1 teaspoon of salt. Let the tomato juices deglaze the pan and stir to incorporate the salt into the mixture. 
  7. Add the sweet potatoes and the washed red lentils. Stir to mix them with the flavor base.
  8. Pour in enough hot water to cover all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot and reduce the temperature to under medium heat. Let it simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Once the sweet potatoes soften, stir in the garam masala and 2 teaspoons of salt. Mash some of the lentils and sweet potatoes with a wooden spoon for a mushier texture.
  10. Finally, stir in coconut cream, and add fresh cilantro. Cook for an extra 5 minutes for the flavors to assimilate and turn off the heat. 
  11. Serve the dahl with a side of basmati rice and naan bread, drizzled with a bit of yogurt. Enjoy!

Notes

  • To know if the oil is ready, throw in a whole spice, and if it sizzles immediately and rises to the surface, the oil is ready.
  • If the dahl is quite spicy, feel free to squeeze in a bit of lime juice to counteract the intensity of the chili pepper. 
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Indian

🙏🏻 Before you go, I’ve got a favor to ask!

I’d love to get your feedback on this recipe! Feel free to leave a comment below detailing your experience— and let others know how you feel about it!

Of course, you can also ask any questions you may have about the recipe— and we’ll try to respond ASAP.

sweet potato dahl

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