Sweet Potato Dahl

A rich winter stew that combines beans and lentils with the richness of sweet potato and uses the ‘drop lid’ sweating method to give a warming and nourishing dish, flavoured with kombu seaweed, ginger and garlic.
Course Soup
Cuisine Macrobiotic
Servings 6 people


  • 2/3 cup Red lentils and split Chickpeas half and half
  • 2 medium-large Onions peeled
  • 2 medium Sweet potatoes peeled
  • 2 medium Carrots peeled
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2/3 tsp fresh Turmeric peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp Ginger juice
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • Fresh coriander
  • 2 cups of homemade Stock/ water
  • 3 Garlic cloves

For cooking lentils/split chick peas:

  • Small strip Kombu
  • 1 Star anise
  • ½ Onion


  • Rinse lentils and split chickpeas very well. Place in a saucepan and cover with water (about 2cm above the lentils).  Add small strip of kombu, star anise, 3 garlic cloves (split open), half onion cut in quarters and bring to boil. Simmer on flame diffuser 20-30mins or until split chickpeas are soft.
  • Cut onions, carrots and sweet potatoes into large chunks. Chop the 2 garlic cloves finely.
  • Fry onions and garlic in olive oil in an iron ovenproof pot with a couple of pinches of sea salt for 5-10 mins, until they start to become translucent.
  • Place grated turmeric and ginger juice in the pot with the onions. Stir for a couple of minutes.
  • Add sweet potatoes and carrots with three good pinches of salt. Place a lid that fits inside the ovenproof pot that will sit directly on top of the vegetables (‘drop lid’ technique), it will sweat the vegetables. Also place the pot lid on the pot. You now have two lids, one inside the pot sitting on top of the vegetables (as wide as possible, but that it still fits inside the pot) and one that closes the pot.
  • Leave to sweat on medium to small flame, you should hear a nice sizzling, and after 5 mins you start seeing some water evaporating inside the pot, over the smaller lid. Try not to look too often, it is best to leave it be. Be careful the flame isn’t too high so as to not burn the bottom of the pot.
  • After about 15 mins remove both lids and mix vegetables together. If the sweet potatoes and carrots are becoming soft as you mix, it means you’re ready for the next step. If not, place both lids back on, and carry on sweating for another 10 mins or so.
  • Once soft, remove all the ‘bits’ (garlic etc) from the lentils (leave the kombu if it has broken down) and add the lentils/split peas to the vegetable pot, including any liquid (if there’s a lot, save some back). Add about 1½ cup of stock if needed (use your own judgment) with 3 pinches of salt. Stir, put the pot lid back on and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for 15 mins, stirring occasionally to prevent catching at the bottom.
  • If there is still a lot of liquid, remove the lid and simmer gently. The vegetables, lentils and stock should start mixing and ‘blending’ together at this stage. It should be creamy but not too liquid or too stodgy.


Taste. Add more ginger juice if needed and possibly some Tamari (not too much as it colours dishes). I sometimes add a little creamed coconut at the end. Serve with chopped fresh coriander. It is also delicious with ½ cup of coconut yogurt. The whiteness of the yoghurt sitting on top of the stew looks lovely; alternatively, pop some steamed kale on top. This dish goes well with brown basmati or jasmine rice.