Sweet potato and red lentil curry

Sweet potato and red lentil curry

sweet potato red lentil curry pot

It’s been 5 days since I’ve gone on braces and I would be lying if I told you that I am back to normal. I still have not been able to have anything other than ‘baby food’-style food (smooth soups, mash, guac, smoothies, applesauce, ice cream – you get the gist) apart from some chunky homemade chips, which were really hard to eat but the craving got the better of me.

With all that is going on, I am finding it hard to be motivated to come up with new recipes right now, I will be honest. I have done a few test cooks for recipes I was excited about before I went on braces, but the taste (and texture!) tasting process is just not happening right now. My mouth is sore, my teeth are hurting and my tastebuds have seemingly gone on strike out of solidarity with the rest of my mouth’s infrastructure…I am hoping to win them back again soon.

On this note, this recipe is an amalgamation of a few of my old recipes and it can be eaten as a curry / stew, but it also lends itself really well to being blended into a smooth soup – have a guess which is my favourite right now? As normally I am big fan of texture, I’ve decided to refrain from publishing a creamy soup recipe as I find texture-rich dishes infinitely more interesting. They are also a lot more democratic, aren’t they – if you are a texture hater yourself (or have committed the folly of treating yourself to braces, like I did), I am sure that your blender will welcome you with open arms. Mine is really earning its keep right now 😉 .

sweet potato red lentil curry close up

sweet potato red lentil curry bowl

15 min
60 min
15 min
60 min
  • 180 g / 1 cup red split lentils*
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed / canola oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • a handful of coriander, stalks chopped** + leaves for serving
  • 1 cup of chopped tomatoes (fresh or tinned)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1.5 cm / 0.5″ cubes
  • approx. 1 tsp fine sea salt, adjust to taste
  • 240 ml / 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • juice of ½ lime
  • handful of cashews or coconut flakes, lightly toasted (to serve)


  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 10 dried curry leaves
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp hot chilli powder (I used Kashmiri chilli powder for colour)
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • a good pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground pepper
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  1. Rinse split red lentils several times really well, until the water runs clear. If your stomach is sensitive to pulses, you may want to cook them separately in about 3 cups of water, skimming the foam that comes up to the surface during cooking. Simmer until they can be squashed between your fingers, about 10 minutes.
  2. Heat up oil on a medium heat, in a heavy bottom pan. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and wait until they start popping, stirring from time to time.
  3. Next add in cumin seeds and dry curry leaves. Fry gently for a minute or so – until the cumin releases its fragrance.
  4. Add chopped onion, saute it gently, stirring from time to time until it gets soft and lightly caramelised in places.
  5. Add garlic, ginger and chopped coriander stalks. Cook for about 2 minutes stirring frequently so that ginger does not stick to the pan.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and add all the ground spices (apart from garam masala). Coat everything in the pot in the spices. Stir frequently, cook for 1-2 minutes until all spices are fragrant.
  7. Add chopped tomatoes and 240 ml / 1 cup of water. Cover and cook for a few minutes until the tomatoes soften and fall apart.
  8. Add rinsed lentils (if not cooking them separately), sweet potato and about 500 ml / 2 cups of water.
  9. Let everything come to a gentle boil, simmer covered until sweet potato is tender and the curry thickens – add a splash of water of it is getting too dry.
  10. Add salt, coconut milk and cooked lentils if you cooked them separately. Cook for a further 5 minutes to allow the curry to thicken.
  11. Season with garam masala and lime juice. Adjust seasoning and spiciness if needed.
  12. Serve on top of cooked rice or/and with a vegan naan, with chopped coriander leaves and toasted cashews on top.

*You can use either raw or pre-cooked red lentils here. Do not add the salt until the lentils have cooked as salt makes them tough.

**You can leave the coriander stalks whole and remove them before serving the curry or chop them up finely and leave them in.

As with most curries and stews, the flavours of this dish benefit from being made a day ahead.

7 g
15 g
9 g
11 g
43 g
*per serving
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10 reviews, 16 comments
I followed this recipe and omg it was so yummy!! The flavours were amazing!! Thank you!
    Thank you Sophie, I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed it! Ania
I made this curry and it was delicious. Even my super fussy daughter enjoyed it. The flavour was so tasty, I will definitely be making again. Thank you
    Thanks Karen, that is so lovely to hear that this curry went down so well with you and your daughter - little people can be hard to please, can't they? Thank you for taking the time to review, I really appreciate it. Ania
I never leave reviews (don’t know why) but I have to say this is the BEST curry I’ve ever made. My fiancé said it’s the best he’s ever had, including from restaurants.
This is so so good! Everyone needs to make this! We can’t get enough of it.
    Thank you so much Fernanda, I am really happy to hear that you and your fiancé enjoyed this curry so much. And thank you for coming back to review - I really appreciate it. Reviews are so important - they give other people confidence to try my recipes. Ania
Delicious nutritious meal the whole family loved. Added some spinach at the end. As a suggestion, it may be worth adding a note about the cooking of the lentils - and that they can either be booked ahead or in the curry. I hadn't read the whole recipe through (making it in a rush), cooked the lentils then added them in step 8 so I overcooked them. Won't make that mistake the next time I cook this
    I'm so glad to hear that you and your family enjoyed this curry, Carolyn - thanks for letting me know. As for your suggestion/comment re cooking of the lentils, I double-checked my recipe instructions. In point 1 of the METHOD I say to cook lentils separately if that's preferred (a senstive stomach would be a reason to, for example), in point 8 I say to add rinsed lentils to the curry unless they have been cooked separately and in point 10 I say to add cooked lentils (if you chose to cook them separately) to the curry so I think it's clear that you can use either raw or pre-cooked lentils here, but I will add a footnote too. Hope this helps. Ania
Delicious recipe. I added some spinach at the end.
    Thanks so much, I am delighted to hear that! Ania
Hi Ania,
Is this delicious looking curry suitable for freezing? x
    Sure thing! I hope you'll like it. x Ania
Delicious! I served it on top of barley and added avocado on top and will definitely be making this again!
    Thanks, Shelby! I'm so pleased to hear that you enjoyed it. x Ania
Second time I have made this and just love it.
    Great to hear, Sue! Thank you! Ania
Absolute yum! Me and my husband loved it 😊
    So happy to hear that, Emily! Thank you for taking the time to let me know. x Ania
Hi, I would like to make this, but I can't eat tomatoes. Is there any substitute? Or could it work without tomatoes?
    Hi Lucy,
    I'm sorry to hear that. I don't really think there is an alternative as such, but in this recipe use could use some cooked aubergine flesh with a bit of tamarind puree for sourness. Hope that helps! Ania
Hi, just want to say that I really enjoy trying out your recipes and love the variety. The Rhubarb Butter has become a staple in my house!! Thanks for all the effort you put in to sharing great food ideas. Julie 🙂
    Thank you so much for your kind words, Julie. It's lovely to know that my efforts are making a difference in people's lives. x Ania
I just made this for dinner I used butternut squash instead of sweet potato it was so yummy!
    Great to hear, Jacqueline! Thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed it, stay safe. x Ania
Rachel Bliss:
I made this for dinner tonight - yum! The combination of spices worked really well with the creaminess of the lentils and sweet potato. I added spinach at the end for some extra colour.
    Thanks, Rachel! I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed this and fresh spinach is always a great curry/stew addition. x Ania
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