Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lentils with Sweet Potatoes & Toasted Coconut

Mum used to make this at home when company was expected. It was part of a feast (nimonthonno ranna in Bengali). Fresh coconuts are readily available in India and Mum would break the coconut shell, slice the meat into strips and slice it into flat disks that would be fried in oil to a nutty brown.  They would then be cooked along with the lentils.

Since fresh coconuts are not as easily available in Michigan, a staple in my refrigerator is unsweetened, grated coconut. I use a dry skillet to toast a quarter cup of grated coconut to a golden brown colour with the help of 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar. The toasted coconut is used as a garnish and stirred into the lentils just prior to serving.


1 cup channa dal (any lentils will do)
1 medium sweet potato or 1/4 pumpkin, peeled and cut in bite-size pieces
¼ cup grated unsweetened coconut, toasted to a golden brown
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
½ tsp. shah jeera or cumin seeds
1 tsp. garam masala powder
2 tsp. ginger paste
Salt to taste
1 tsp. ghee or melted butter
2–3 green chilies, left whole


1. Wash and soak sweet potatoes in water to prevent discolouring.

2. Wash lentils until water runs clear and soak in hot water for half an hour.
3. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds & garam masala.
4. When cumin seeds start to sizzle, add tomato and ginger pastes along with sweet potatoes and cook for a few minutes.
5. Add lentils, cover and simmer for about half an hour until lentils are tender.
6. Adjust salt to taste, garnish with ghee, toasted coconut and whole green chilies.
7. Transfer to a serving dish and serve with steamed rice or tortillas.

I shared this recipe on 

1 comment:

  1. Chumkie, thanks for coming over to add your recipes to the great collection. Cheers


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