Indian dahl with roast sweet potatoes, red onion and chickpeas

Indian dahl with roast sweet potatoes, red onion and chickpeas. Photograph: Donal Skehan

Indian dahl with roast sweet potatoes, red onion and chickpeas. Photograph: Donal Skehan

Sat, Apr 29, 2017, 06:07

  • Serves: 4
  • Cooking Time: 50 mins
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Indian


  • Serves 4
  • For the roast sweet potatoes:
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cut in rough chunks
  • 2 large red onions, roots trimmed, sliced in quarters
  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp hot curry powder
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • For the dahl:
  • 300g red lentils
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • A handful of coriander, stalks finely chopped and leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 x 400ml coconut milk
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • Half tsp ground cumin
  • Half tsp ground coriander
  • Half tsp of mustard seeds
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 8 curry leaves (fresh is best, or dried)
  • 100g baby spinach leaves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • To serve:
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • Natural yoghurt


If ever there was a store cupboard supper that delivered on many fronts, dahl would be it, every time. It is a melting pot of all those ingredients that sit in your kitchen press, awaiting their moment of glory.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/gas 5.

Place the sweet potato, red onion and chickpeas on a large roasting tray and drizzle generously with olive oil before sprinkling with curry powder, salt and pepper. Toss the vegetables until they are completely coated.

Place in the oven to roast for 45 minutes, or until the sweet potato is tender. If the red onion begins to char, remove it from the tray.

For the dahl, put the lentils into a heavy-based pan, with the ginger, the coriander stalks and a teaspoon of salt, then pour over the coconut milk and 600ml of water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, adding the tomatoes after 10 minutes.

After 30 minutes, the lentils will have broken down and will be thick and creamy. Whisk until the mixture becomes smooth. If it is too thick, then you can add a little more water. Leave to simmer gently while you get the spice mixture ready.

Heat the oil in a small, heavy-based frying pan. Add the turmeric, cumin, ground coriander, mustard seeds, red chilli and curry leaves. Leave them to temper. The oil should be bubbling and the seeds popping. This will take about 30 seconds to one minute.

Stir this straight into the lentils, reserving one tablespoon. Be careful, as the mixture may spit a little. Whisk until well combined and then stir in the baby spinach, lemon juice and spring onions.

Ladle the dahl into wide bowls, top with the roast vegetables and then garnish with coriander leaves, the reserved spices, spring onions and a dollop of natural yoghurt.