Anna Jones’ baked red lentil dhal with tamarind-glazed sweet potato


Quick-cooking red lentils are THE most versatile dried pulse and we are now stocking organic red lentils by Suma. Great for soups, stews and dhals – and for sneaking some plant-source protein into tomato-based pasta sauces for fussy kids.  An Indian dhal is a lovely partner for curried veg from the box, or just some simple roasted kale or roots.  We featured Nigel Slater’s ‘Beetroot, lentils, garam masala’ (topped with delicious chilli-hot fried onions) a couple of years ago and it is a real keeper. I made it more often in 2020-21 than any other dish.

But for this week’s spotlight, here’s Anna Jones’ baked red lentil dhal with tamarind-glazed sweet potato.  Her intro says it all: “In every book I write there is a recipe that I love a little more than the rest … And this is it. Turmeric, cardamom and ginger-heavy dhal, topped with tamarind-glazed sweet potato, the stuff of my dreams.”  Serve with some roasted or stir-fried kale, cabbage or broccoli.

It’s peak season for our organic sweet potatoes – get a bumper portion when you order it as an extra for your veg box. Our ever-growing online shop also stocks fresh organic ginger, garlic and limes, and tinned coconut milk and tomatoes (the Mutti tomatoes are superb). You can pick up tamarind paste at Lembas, Ozmen and Waitrose.


  • 250g split red lentils
  • 2 tablespoons coconut or groundnut oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Fresh ginger - a large thumb-sized piece, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • a pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 750ml hot vegetable stock
  • 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 750g sweet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 2 unwaxed limes, halved.


  1. Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Wash the lentils in cold water until the water is no longer milky, then drain.
  2. Warm the oil in a wide, shallow ovenproof pan over a medium heat, add the chopped onion and cook until it is soft and pale gold, so about 10 mins. Stir the ginger and garlic into the onion and add the cumin seeds. Continue cooking for 2–3 mins.
  3. Meanwhile, crack open the cardamom pods, take out the seeds, grind to a coarse powder, then stir into the onion together with the turmeric and chilli flakes. Add a good grind of black pepper and half a teaspoon of flaky sea salt, stirring for a minute or two.
  4. Add the tomatoes, lentils, stock and coconut milk then bring to a simmer for a few mins until everything has come together. You don’t need to cook the lentils here, as they will cook under the sweet potato in the oven.
  5. While the lentils simmer, cut the sweet potatoes into long slices about 5mm in thickness. Season with salt and pepper, then place on top of the lentils to form a lid (don’t worry if the first few sink). Brush the top with the tamarind paste.
  6. Put into the oven to bake for 30–40 mins until the lentils are tender and have thickened and the sweet potatoes are crispy. Finish with a squeeze of lime.