A recipe to keep you healthy and warm on these cool nights
Oven at 180˚ fan
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
3 medium sweet potatoes
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1tsp ground turmeric
200g red lentils
400ml coconut milk
600ml vegetable stock
3 handfuls spinach (or 3 blocks of frozen spinach)
It is so cold outside that all I want to eat is a big bowl of carbs. Unfortunately that is not a very healthy option, so instead I make this dal. Lentils can get a bad rap but this dish changes that, it is full of flavour — perfect for those on a pre-Christmas budget. The sweet potatoes are what makes it special although the naan can make a great addition. Handy hint: if you buy it from your local takeaway it will taste so much better than supermarket ones and cost about the same.
Heat the oven to 180˚. Dice the sweet potatoes (wash them but leave the skin on) into 2cm cubes and place on a roasting tray. Sprinkle over the fennel and cumin seeds with a glug of olive oil, season well with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast in oven for 40 minutes, turning occasionally until cooked through.
Heat a little more olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pan (essential to stop the lentils from burning) and add the diced onion. Cook until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the spices — cinnamon, cumin, coriander, turmeric — and stir through the softened onions.
Pour in the lentils, coconut milk and vegetable stock to the pan, stir, and bring to a simmer. Ensure the hob is on the lowest heat and leave the dal to cook for 25 minutes, stirring frequently to stop the lentils from sticking to the bottom. Add some hot water if necessary to stop the lentils from burning. Drop the spinach into the cooked dal and stir to wilt.
Serve with the sweet potatoes on top and naan on the side.