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Sweet Potato Dhansak

The dhansak is flavoured with a spice mixture called "dhansak masala", which is similar to "garam masala" except that the spices used are more aromatic and sweet rather than pungent.

This curry is traditionally served with caramelised brown rice, which is rice cooked in caramel water to give it taste and colour.

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4


  • Two onions chopped
  • Teaspn coriander seed
  • Teaspn cumin seed
  • Two cloves garlic minced
  • A tblspn dhansak spice mix – ¼ teaspn cinnamon ¼ teaspn ground ¼ teaspn cardamom, ¼ teaspn ground cloves, ¼ teaspn nutmeg, ½ teaspn dried ginger, one teaspn turmeric, ¼ teaspn little chilli powder and a pinch of asfoetida
  • 3 – 4 peeled sweet potato cut into bite sized pieces
  • 780 ml water
  • 150 g red lentils
  • 200 g of baby spinach leaves
  • 400 g can of chick peas drained and washed
  • A little lemon juice
  • Two tblspn sweet mango chutney
  • 1 Small Aubergine
  • 1 tub coconut soya yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  1. Fry two onions until caramelised in a little oil

  2. Add the coriander seed and cumin seed continue to fry for a couple of minutes 

  3. Add the minced garlic, fry for three or four more minutes

  4. Add sweet potato
  5. Stir in spice mix
  6. Add a little water
  7. Cook on a low heat for 5 minutes to allow the flavours to combine
  8. Add red lentils
  9. Add 750ml of water
  10. Add the chick peas
  11. Simmer until the lentils and potato are cooked, if the sauce becomes too dry add more water

  12. Before serving stir in baby spinach leaves until they are wilted

  13. Season to taste and stir in the lemon juice at the last minute, it will become bitter if cooked 

  14. Add the sweet mango chutney if the sweet potato does not bring the sweetness you prefer
  15. To make the raita, cut one small aubergine into tiny chunks, roast or fry until caramelised, puree in a food processor or blender and then stir into some soya coconut yogurt with a little turmeric, salt and pepper.

Recipe Notes

Serve with brown rice, preferably cooked with some caramelised onions to give the rice a caramel flavour.