Sweet Potato Dal

This recipe comes from Tinicum CSA member Nidhi M. It requires some key Indian spices and, of course, a few vegetables. If you’ve ever wanted to make Indian food then I suggest that you try this in your kitchen. Dal is basically lentils soup but way more flavorful. I made it recently for a family gathering on Easter and it was a big hit. Here is my adaptation of the recipe.


  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tbsp. cooking oil, whatever you have
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 or 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 1 tsp. whole cumin seed
  • 1/4 tsp. asafoetida powder
  • 2 tsp. tumeric
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (less or more depending on your spice tolerance)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • butter
  • lemon juice
  • I happened to be gifted this really cool Indian Spice Tin for Christmas this year. But you can also just go out and buy the spices that you need for this recipe without getting this type of container. The asafoetida powder can be found at Indian Spice stores.

    Indian Spices


    1. In a large bowl, soak the red lentils overnight or for at least 2 hours. Rinse and set aside before cooking.

    Red Lentils, dal

    2. In a large pot, begin heating oil and immediately add the cumin seed and asafoetida powder.

    Asafoetida powder

    3. Once the cumin seed starts to hiss and pop add in the onion and garlic. Decrease the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

    onions, garlic, and cumin, Dal

    4. While the onions and garlic are cooking, dice up the sweet potato and tomatoes.

    5. Once the onions are brown, add the tomatoes and sweet potato. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

    Sweet Potatoes & Tomatoes, Dal

    6. Add the lentils, pour in 6 cups of water, and stir in the tumeric, garam masala, cayenne pepper, and salt. Cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are done cooking. Stir occasionally. The Dal should have a slightly thick, yet soupy texture. Add more water if its too thick. At the very end, throw in a lump of butter and squeeze a small amount of lemon juice into the pot.

    Dal, finished

    Serve over rice. I like to use basmati rice. Enjoy!

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