Dal with Sweet Potatoes and Kale

by Anjali @ The Picky Eater on March 31, 2012

Dal is pretty much a staple in Indian cuisine.

What is Dal? It’s basically stewed/cooked lentils or split peas, but there are so many different kinds of Indian lentils & beans: Moong, Toor, Green Lentils, Chana, etc. that you can get pretty creative with your Dal recipes.

I literally ate dal (lentils) & sabji (vegetables cooked with Indian spices) for dinner almost every single day when I was growing up.

Somehow I didn’t get tired of it – I think there’s something about the warmth and spice of Indian cuisine that’s comforting to me – something familiar that I can always come back to.

But, I do like mixing things up once in a while, so when I saw this recipe on Fat Free Vegan, I was inspired. Usually, dal is just lentils cooked with spices. You don’t add things to it (like sweet potatoes or kale) – that’ll seem odd to most traditional Indian cooks. But I have to tell you, this recipe is delicious. And it’s a one-pot meal.

I made quite a few modifications to the spice level because I think the original recipe is a little bland – so my modified version is below, with notes on where you can cut back on the spice if you need to.

The Ingredients

Makes 8 servings – so if you want a smaller portion, just cut everything in half!

  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp finely minced fresh ginger
  • 5 cloves finely minced garlic
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 8 cups water
  • 3 cups dried yellow split peas, picked over and rinsed (this is chana dal in the Indian store)
  • 3-4 Tbsp curry powder (or less/more to taste)
  • Salt to taste: I used about 2-3 tsp for this huge portion, but if you’re just making 1/2 or 1/3 of this recipe – use about 1 tsp
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 bunch kale
Here’s a picture of the dal I used – you can get this at any health food store (like Whole Foods) or Indian Store
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The Directions

Step 1: Wash the yellow split peas thoroughly, and chop up the onions and sweet potatoes

Step 2: Heat a large pot over medium high heat and add in the canola oil. Pour the cumin seeds and mustard seeds into the oil, let them cook for a few seconds until they start to pop. As soon as they begin to pop, add the onions, ginger, garlic and cumin powder, cook for a few minutes.

Step 3: Add the sweet potatoes, water, split peas, and 2 Tbsp curry powder. Stir well.

If using a pressure cooker, seal the cooker and bring it up to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 8 minutes; then remove from the heat and allow the pressure to come down naturally.

If you’re cooking it in a regular pot, cover the pot and simmer until the split peas are tender and beginning to break down, about an hour. Stir regularly to make sure that the split peas don’t stick to the bottom of the pan, and add water if necessary.

I did the latter (cooked it in a regular pot) – because I don’t have a pressure cooker and I’m a little intimidated by them! But obviously a pressure cooker is much faster, so I should probably get over my fear of them soon 🙂

Step 4: While the soup is cooking, wash the kale and remove and discard the tough central rib. Chop the leaves coarsely.

Step 5: When the split peas are cooked, add the kale to the pot. Season with salt, cayenne pepper, and additional 2 Tbsp curry powder (use less spice if you don’t like things too spicy) and add additional water if the soup is too thick. Cover the pot. For kale that retains some crunch, simply leave the pot covered for 5 or 10 minutes without heating, allowing the kale to cook in the heat of the soup. For kale that is more tender, you may return the pot to low heat for 10 minutes.

And dinner is served.

The husband ate this with some Naan, I ate it with a whole wheat flour tortilla, but you can also eat it by itself – like a thick stew or soup. We both loved this meal – it was hearty, satisfying, super filling, and so balanced with the protein from the split peas, and the fiber from the sweet potatoes and kale. The dal also had a great sweet & spicy flavor to it, since the potatoes end up cooking down to make the dal creamy and slightly sweet.

One HUGE serving has about 300 calories, 20g protein, and 21g fiber. If you eat it with a standard sized whole wheat tortilla, that’s about 100-150 calories and 5g fiber more – so only 450 calories for an amazingly filling and delicious meal.

It tastes so great, you won’t believe how good it is for you!

 

Dal with Sweet Potatoes and Kale

Total Time: 60 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Serving Size: 1/8 of the recipe

Calories per serving: 309

Fat per serving: 3g

Nutritional Info Per Serving: 309 Calories, 3g Fat, 500mg Sodium (assuming 2 tsp for the whole recipe), 57g Carbs, 20g Protein, 21g Fiber

Ingredients

  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp finely minced fresh ginger
  • 5 cloves finely minced garlic
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 8 cups water
  • 3 cups dried yellow split peas, picked over and rinsed (this is chana dal in the Indian store)
  • 3-4 Tbsp curry powder (or less/more to taste)
  • Salt to taste: I used about 2-3 tsp for this huge portion, but if you’re just making 1/2 or 1/3 of this recipe – use about 1 tsp
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 bunch kale

Directions

  1. Wash the yellow split peas thoroughly, and chop up the onions and sweet potatoes
  2. Heat a large pot over medium high heat and add in the canola oil. Pour the cumin seeds and mustard seeds into the oil, let them cook for a few seconds until they start to pop. As soon as they begin to pop, add the onions, ginger, garlic and cumin powder, cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes, water, split peas, and 2 Tbsp curry powder. Stir well.
  4. If using a pressure cooker, seal the cooker and bring it up to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 8 minutes; then remove from the heat and allow the pressure to come down naturally. If you’re cooking it in a regular pot, cover the pot and simmer until the split peas are tender and beginning to break down, about an hour. Stir regularly to make sure that the split peas don’t stick to the bottom of the pan, and add water if necessary. I did the latter (cooked it in a regular pot) – because I don’t have a pressure cooker and I’m a little intimidated by them! But obviously a pressure cooker is much faster, so I should probably get over my fear of them soon 🙂
  5. While the soup is cooking, wash the kale and remove and discard the tough central rib. Chop the leaves coarsely.
  6. When the split peas are cooked, add the kale to the pot. Season with salt, cayenne pepper, and additional 2 Tbsp curry powder (use less spice if you don’t like things too spicy) and add additional water if the soup is too thick. Cover the pot. For kale that retains some crunch, simply leave the pot covered for 5 or 10 minutes without heating, allowing the kale to cook in the heat of the soup. For kale that is more tender, you may return the pot to low heat for 10 minutes.

Notes

http://pickyeaterblog.com/dal-with-sweet-potatoes-and-kale/

 

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Caroline March 31, 2012 at 12:42 pm

This looks amazing. I’m assuming that I can subsitute red lentils for the yellow split peas. I have those in my pantry.

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater March 31, 2012 at 12:45 pm

You absolutely can!! I’m sure you’ll love this when you make it! 🙂

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Darcey March 31, 2012 at 2:03 pm

I am so excited to make this. My boyfriend’s (he’s Indian and i’m not) mother has “taught” me how to make daal a few times by having me help her, but i’m just too afraid to do it without a recipe! This seems like an awesome healthy twist on what she does. Thanks!

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater March 31, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Haha! Omg I totally know what you mean – my dad tried to “teach” me to how to make dal a bunch of times, but I could never make it on my own until I got the exact proportions / measurements of the spices from him – so I completely understand! I’m sure you’ll both love this recipe when you make it 🙂 Let me know how it turns out!

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The Healthy Hostess March 31, 2012 at 5:56 pm

This looks so good that I think I will make it and Indian for dinner tomorrow night! I need some Berkley Bowl in my life! I am coming out hte last weekend in April and would love to get together! Let me know if you are around!
🙂

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater March 31, 2012 at 9:16 pm

I am totally around the last week of April!!! I would LOVE to see you 🙂 Once you finalize the dates of your trip just let me know – can’t wait til you’re here!!

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Matt April 1, 2012 at 4:15 am

I love this recipe!

Check out this healthy eating recipe ebook I found it’s got over 370 recipes! It’s one of the best books on healthy eating I have!

Click on the link to take you to it
http://3027fieonz-0vm3qvcw9j06lbk.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=8868

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater April 2, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Thanks Matt!

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jason@CheshireFitness April 2, 2012 at 1:49 am

Great blog, the food looks beautiful, also a great meal for a stable diet!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater April 2, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Thank you so much Jason!! I can’t wait to hear how you like this recipe! 🙂

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susie Van April 2, 2012 at 2:04 pm

I am trying the Dal tonight! Looks so Delicious!! an all in one meal!!!!!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater April 2, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Woohoo!! That’s why I love this dish so much – one-pot meals are so convenient and healthy, they’re the best!

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Nisha Mehta April 2, 2012 at 7:13 pm

I tried this last night! Amazing!! I made two batches and in the second one I added a couple fresh tomatoes! Both were delicious! This might have to become my go to dinner!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater April 2, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Aww yay!! I am so glad to hear that Nisha! And the addition of the tomatoes sounds absolutely perfect – I’ll be doing that next time for sure!

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Anna Marie April 5, 2012 at 12:30 am

Hi!
I cooked it yesterday and today we are going to try it! I just added tomatoes because I wanted to give a mediteranean taste.
Thank you for the nice recipies!!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater April 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Woohoo! How did you like it?? Love the addition of the tomatoes – I’m sure that made it taste even better!

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Anna December 8, 2012 at 6:58 pm

I made this tonight for dinner and it was great! Mine came out a little thinner than yours so I would say to cut back the water to 7 cups if you are making this in a pressure cooker. You weren’t kidding about the big serving size- it was 2 cups per serving! Thanks for another great recipe!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater December 10, 2012 at 7:32 am

Ohhh yeah – in a pressure cooker I would imagine that you would need less water. I’m not brave enough to use a pressure cooker yet 🙂 So glad you liked this recipe!!

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Tim January 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Wow! That was delicious…and I’d be hard pressed to find a healthier combination of ingredients. I made 2/3 of the recipe and we had a enough for a couple meals. Eight minutes is perfect for the pressure cooker; the sweet potatoes were soft and the chana were still intact. Thanks!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater January 10, 2013 at 12:02 am

Yaaay! That is so great Tim! I’m so happy to hear that. And yes – using the pressure cooker cuts down on the cutting time immensely. I love eating this dal as leftovers – you are right that this recipe makes more than enough for that!

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Beth February 11, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Hello Anjali,
I am wanting to cook Indian food at home, but it never seems to have the same heat and spiciness that Indian cooks get. I am wondering 1) what do you mean by curry powder? surely not that pale yellow bland stuff that is sold in supermarkets as curry powder? 2) I have some small garbanzos that I got at Rainbow grocery that are supposedly channa. These seem to be different than split yellow peas. If I can’t find split yellow peas, should I use these or a red lentil instead? Also, 3) when a recipe calls for a hot green pepper, should I use serrano? jalapeno? or is there a traditional indian green pepper that I should look for?
Thank you for your wonderful blog!
Beth

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater February 17, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Hi Beth! Thank you so much for these great questions! 🙂 So to answer your questions: 1) Actually yes – I do mean “curry powder” – yellowish, sold as a spice in most supermarkets. However – you have to get really good quality curry powder to get the depth and spiciness – most chain grocery stores won’t have a good quality curry powder. I’d recommend Trader Joe’s curry powder, or Spicely (which you can find online and at most Whole Foods stores). I promise, the good quality versions taste great! 2) I’m not sure about the small garbanzos, but yes you can basically use any lentil in place of these yellow split peas (which are also sold as Chana Dal in Indian grocery stores). 3) I would use a serrano pepper – or at the Indian grocery store you can find Indian green chiles – which are perfect. You can also use cayenne pepper as a substitute – it won’t have the exact flavor but it will be close. Hope this all helps – let me know how this recipe turns out for you!

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Beth August 31, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Hi Anjali,
Just wanted to let you know that this dal has become a staple in our house. We tried the Trader Joe’s curry powder, but it had cinnamon and nutmeg, and seemed too sweet to us. Then we tried the Spicely and it was fantastic! We omitted the cayenne – the Spicely is hot enough. Thank you so much!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater September 5, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Yaayy!! I’m so happy to hear that Beth! Spicely curry powder is also one of my fav brands – and makes sense about the cayenne too – it’s important to adjust all Indian recipes to your own spice preferences 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!

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Jess March 22, 2015 at 4:14 pm

We love this meal! The kale adds great crunch and colour. Thanks for helping me learn to cook Indian

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater March 22, 2015 at 5:41 pm

Yay!! So happy to hear that 🙂 Thanks for letting me know Jess!

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James T June 24, 2015 at 5:56 pm

This was awesome. I added some browned lamb to it, the kids loved it.

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater June 25, 2015 at 12:03 pm

Glad to hear it James!

Reply

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