Recipe: Dal with Sweet Potatoes and Kale

A staple in Indian cuisine, this version adds some special flavors to the traditional lentils and spices.

Servings: 8

Prep Time: 20 min.

Cook Time: 1 hr. 15 min.


  • 2 red onions, chopped

  • 1 ½ tsp whole cumin

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds

  • 2 tsp canola oil

  • 1-2 Tbs fresh ginger, finely minced

  • 5 garlic cloves, finely minced

  • 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 Tbs curry powder (or less/more to taste)

  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

  • 1 bunch kale

  • Salt to taste: 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. 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.

  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.

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