This simple Indian stew is a one-pot-wonder. A vegetarian meal that’s every bit warm and comforting, served up with fragrant lemon and saffron spiced rice and some of my Mango Chutney on the side.


  • 2 cups red lentils, rinsed and picked over

  • 1L chicken or vegetable broth

  • 400ml full-fat coconut milk

  • 4 Tbsp coconut oil

  • 2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced

  • 2 small red chilies, thinly sliced

  • 1 cup sweet potato, diced

  • 1 tsp garam masala

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

  • 1 tsp fennel seeds

  • 1 Tbsp ground turmeric

  • 2 Tbsp coriander stems, chopped

  • 1 handful coriander leaves, to garnish

  • 3 cups baby spinach

  • Juice of 1-2 lemons

  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

  • Rice 

  • 300g basmati rice, preferably soaked in filtered water for 2-hours

  • 450ml boiling filtered water

  • 1 Tbsp butter

  • Pinch of saffron

  • 5 cardamom pods

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 1 star anise

  • Juice of half a lemon

  • Zest of 1 lemon


  • 1.

    Pre-heat the oven to 200’C

  • 2.

    In a baking tray, toss together sweet potatoes, 1 Tbsp coconut oil and garam masala. Season with sea salt pepper, and roast for around 20 minutes until caramelised and crispy on the outside, then set aside

  • 3.

    In a large pot or deep saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp of the coconut oil. Add the cumin, fennel and turmeric and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute

  • 4.

    Stir in the remaining 2 Tbsp of coconut oil and the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened

  • 5.

    Add the garlic, ginger and half the chilli and cook, stirring, for 1 minute

  • 6.

    Reserve half of the spiced onion mixture in a small bowl

  • 7.

    Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, lentils and coriander stems to the pot and bring to a simmer

  • 8.

    Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes

  • 9.

    While the dahl is cooking, make the rice: rinse the rice in a sieve thoroughly. Place the rice in a saucepan with the water. Add the knob of butter, the saffron, cardamom, cinnamon and star anise

  • 10.

    Bring to a fierce boil and then turn it right down and put the lid on. Cook gently for around 10 minutes

  • 11.

    Back to the dahl, add the spinach and cook for just a few minutes

  • 12.

    Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper

  • 13.

    Spoon the dahl into a serving bowl and top with the reserved onion mixture, roasted sweet potatoes and chilli. Garnish with chopped coriander

  • 14.

    Serve with saffron and lemon spiced rice and mango chutney

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