In India, dal can mean both dried lentils and a prepared lentil dish. It's a staple of Indian cuisine and is regularly consumed by billions of people around the subcontinent, either on its own or as part of a larger dinner spread.
This recipe utilizes green lentils, which tend to hold their shape better than other varieties, as well as hearty, delicious sweet potatoes. What really makes this dal recipe shine is the kick from the ginger, garlic and jalapeño added at the start, and then the extra punch from the fresh cilantro thrown in at the end.
Lentils can take a while to cook depending on your preferred tenderness. Try not to overmix the ingredients as they simmer, because you want the sweet potatoes to hold their shape as much as possible, and vigorous stirring will cause them to mash together as they soften. (However, remember to stir the bottom of the pot as it comes to a boil to ensure nothing sticks.) And if green lentils aren't your thing, you can always substitute other varieties of lentils for a shorter cook time.
Vegan Sweet Potato Dal
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 5 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 jalapeño—stemmed, seeded and minced
1 cup green lentils
2 medium (1½ pounds) sweet potatoes, diced
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 cups vegetable stock
One 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Lime juice, to taste
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more, for garnish
1. In a medium heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger and jalapeño, and sweat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lentils, sweet potatoes and curry powder, and cook until the curry powder is a toasted golden brown and well incorporated throughout the lentils and sweet potatoes, 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Add the vegetable stock and coconut milk, season lightly with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot partially with a lid and simmer until the lentils are tender, 45 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and lime juice. Fold in the cilantro, transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with more cilantro on top, then serve.