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Book review: A modern way to eat and dal with sweet potatoes

Dal met zoete aardappel |

Dal with sweet potatoes and a quick coconut chutney

The book by Anna Jones ‘A modern way to eat”  has been with me a for a while but with all the christmas cooking going on I haven’t had time to cook from it, but of course January is the perfect month for a bit healthier fare than you’ve seen here the past month. Anna’s book is all vegetarian and filled to the brim with delicious recipes. I am not a vegetarian as you know, but I do like to cook vegetarian meals every once in a while. Also because we try and eat sustainable meat and that tends to be more expensive than your average supermarket chicke, so that means less meat and more vegetarian options.

Dal met krokante zoete aardappel |

And Anna helps by sharing all those delicious vegetarian recipes. I have to confess I had not heard of Anna before but if I read the intro in the book I can tell she has earned her stripes as a vegetarian chef, food stylist and food writer. The book is fabulous. Not only because it looks fabulous but because the recipes are great too. Not only for vegetarians but also for anyone who wants to eat a bit less meat going forward or just wants to eat the occassional vegetarian meal. Whatever the case, this book is a must have. I’m pretty sure I’ll be making lots of deliciousness from it in the year to come.

This recipe was a winner with both Tom and me (and he’s not big on vegetarian meals) and the sweet potatoes roasted with the spices alone is worth making it. I also made the coconut chutney but I didn’t like that so much. I probably did something wrong I’m guessing but whatever the case… This is delicious!

Dahl with red lentils and sweet potatoes


For the sweet potatoes:

  • 2 sweet potatoes or if they're really big one. Washed peeled and cut into cubes of about 1,5 cm
  • Seasalt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • olive oil

For the dahl:

  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • a piece of ginger of about a thumb size, roughly chopped (and peeled)
  • 1 green chili, chopped
  • 1 red chili, chopped
  • 1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 200 gram red lentils
  • 1 can of 400 gram coconut milk
  • 400 ml vegetable stock
  • 2 hands of spinach
  • a bunch of cilantro, with stalks, chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon

For the coconut chutney:

  • 50 gram grated coconut
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 10 curry leaves
  • a bit of coconut oil
  • 20 gram of ginger root, grated
  • 1 red chili, finely chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 220 C. Pour 1,5 dl of boiling water over the coconut and set aside to soak.
  2. Put the sweet potatoes into a roasting tray with a good pinch of salt and pepper and sprinkle over the cumin and fennelseeds and sprinkle with oil. Roast the potatoes for about 20-25 minutes in the oven until cooked and soft inside and crunchy on the outside.
  3. Using a large pan add the garlic, ginger, red onion and chili and bake for about ten minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.
  4. Rub the cumin and corianderseeds in a pestle and mortar and add them into the pan with the other spices and bake for a few minutes until fragrant. Stir in the lentils, coconut milk and stock and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and leave to simmer for about 25-30 minutes.
  5. Make your chutney in the meantime. Let the coconut drain and put into a bowl. Bake the mustard seeds and the curry leaves in a bit of oil until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Pour over the coconut, Add salt and pepepr to taste and stir in the ginger and red chili.
  6. Take the dahl of the heat and stir in the spinach and leave to wilt a bit. Stir in half of the cilantro and the lemon juice. Put a portion into deep plates or bowls and add the crispy sweet potato on top, a few tbsp of the coconut chutney and the remaining cilantro. You can serve with chapati's, roti or rice.

Recipe from the book A new Way to eat by Anna Jones

About the author

Simone van den Berg

Food- and travelblogger from the Netherlands. Loves good food. Loves to taste good food the world over.
She also loves to share travelstories, delicious recipes and ok, cat pictures too. She sometimes feels the need to get really healthy for a while, always mingled with periods of insanely delicious sweets and other decadent treats.
Lives together with Tom and their two cats; Humphrey and Buffy.
Profession: Food photographer


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Welcome In Simone’s Kitchen

Hi. My name is Simone and I believe you can change your life by eating the right foods. I am a certified holistic nutritional coach, food photographer, recipe developer and story teller.
I am based in the Netherlands.

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March: Blankenberge, Belgium
April: 3 weeks roadtrip through East USA
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