Harrod’s + Dhal with crispy sweet potato and quick coconut chutney

I won’t bore you with how I’m not going to kick start my January with green juices or diets. Not dieting in January has thankfully become much more normal than embarking on a crazy short-lived detox. I do though think there is definite merit to setting intentions and starting the year off positively, with kindness to body and soul, and that’s what I plan to do.

This January is particularly exciting as today sees the start of a collaboration I have been working on for some months. For January and February you will be able to buy my food from my very own Anna Jones range in Harrods, where I am their chef of the season for the first couple of months of the year. I am so very proud that this is the first vegetarian range at Harrods, massive proof of how things are changing in how we eat.

This range is all about what I believe to be good about food, flavour, texture, colour and putting vegetables at the centre of each plate of food, about eating what you love, sharing in the joy and celebration of food. It’s a lineup some of my favourite recipes from both of my books and my Guardian columns, as well as a few new ones thrown in, a seeded pistachio and squash galette, mac and greens, lemony lentil and crispy kale soup, roasted coconut lime and tamarind curry with mustard seed brown rice. Sweet things include a chocolate tofu and Harrods Early Grey pot, banoffee pie made with whipped coconut cream and chewy chocolate and black bean cookies. And these are just a few.


I am so proud to see my food in the iconic Harrods food halls. If you haven’t made a trip there recently it should be on your list. The food halls are so beautiful, tiled facades and amazing picture perfect displays, and while it might not be the place for your weekly shop it’s a wonderful place to stroll around and pick up a treat or two. I know some of you may be thinking that Harrods is quite an upmarket destination for the food I make, as its not cheffy or posh, but lots of the food at Harrods is just that – good food. The food halls are great people watching too, from tourists to people on their lunch breaks. It takes all sorts.


Thanks go to the amazing chefs at Harrods who have spent days in the kitchen cooking with me (the Harrods kitchens sit under the store across a tunnel under the road, they are quite something) and have used such a light touch and so much care to make sure these are recipes we are all very proud of.

This is such an amazing way for me to kick off 2017, if you’d told the little girl and cooking geek Anna that I would one day have my recipes cooked in Harrods I would have lost it. I’m giving a nod to that little girl today. I’m not one for boasting but sometimes it’s good to give a little shout out to how far you’ve come and indeed what’s possible. A great thought to start the year on.



To mark the launch I’m sharing what I think is my most popular ever recipe, my sweet potato dahl with coconut chutney its from ‘A Modern Way to Eat’ so some of you may know it already. I have kept this recipe in the confines of the book until now, but as it’s of the heroes of the new range I thought it was a good time to send it out into the world once again.  It is a killer dhal, and the roasted sweet potatoes and rose-coloured coconut chutney lift it to something stellar. Everyone I have given the recipe to tells me that this has become their ‘compliment’ dish – everyone loves it. And all from the humble little lentil.

For the chutney, fresh grated coconut is the best but I don’t often have time to crack coconuts for my dinner, so this version uses unsweetened desiccated coconut. If you have the time to grate a fresh coconut, the chutney will be out of this world. If you are short of time this chutney can be swapped for a good spoonful of mango chutney.


2 sweet potatoes, skins on, washed and roughly chopped into 1.5cm cubes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1⁄2 teaspoon fennel seeds
olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
a thumb-size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
200g red lentils
1 × 400ml tin of coconut milk
400ml vegetable stock
2 large handfuls of spinach
a bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped, stalks and all
juice of 1 lemon

50g unsweetened desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
10 curry leaves
a little vegetable or coconut oil
a 20g piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 red chilli, finely chopped

Preheat your oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas 7. Pour 150ml of boiling water over the coconut and leave to soak. Put your sweet potatoes on a roasting tray and add a good pinch of salt and pepper, the cumin and fennel seeds and a drizzle of olive oil. Roast in the oven for 20–25 minutes, until soft and sweet in the middle and crispy brown on the outside. In a large saucepan, sizzle the garlic, ginger, chilli and red onion in a little oil for about 10 minutes, until soft and sweet. Grind the cumin and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar, then add to the pan with the other spices and cook for a couple of minutes to toast and release the oils. Add the lentils, coconut milk and stock to the pan and bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down and bubble away for 25–30 minutes.

While that is cooking make your chutney. Drain the coconut and put it into a bowl. Fry the mustard seeds and curry leaves in a little oil until they begin to crackle, then pour the mixture over the coconut. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the ginger and chilli and give it a good mix. To finish your dhal, take it off the heat, then stir in the spinach and allow it to wilt a little, stirring in half the chopped coriander and the lemon juice too. Pile into bowls and top with the crispy sweet potatoes, spoonfuls of the coconut chutney and the remaining coriander. I serve this with charred chapattis or roti, and if you are really hungry you can have some fluffed brown basmati rice too.

Images: first three, Matt Russell for Harrods, last Brian W Ferry from A Modern Way to Eat

Posted: 11.01.17 25 Comments


Posted by Trish at 10:43 on the 16.01.17

Made this last night and it was fantastic. Nice depth of flavours. Be happy to serve this as a main for ‘meat’ eaters. I would make the dahl first and on the dinner night do the sweet potato/coconut, so I have more time for the guests.

Posted by Trish at 11:48 on the 16.01.17

Ok…this was so good I have ordered your book – A modern way to eat! And I hate collecting cookbooks! 🙂

Posted by Joey at 5:41 on the 17.01.17

Hi Anna,
This look’s delicious I cannot wait to make it. Just one quick (think) question, in the section for making chutney it says “drain the coconut”, confused by this as its desiccated coconut? Please help me to see the obvious so i can get making this!!:)

Posted by Elisabeth at 9:53 on the 20.01.17

Hi Anna, I love your recipes and own both of your books! Are you doing any appearances at Harrods, as I would loooove to meet you! Thanks so much, Elisabeth xx

Posted by Anna at 9:49 on the 30.01.17

Hello Elisabeth, I don’t think so but I am going to be at a few festivals and events later in the year so it’s worth keeping an eye on the events page of my website for those. All best wishes AJ x

Posted by Jade at 3:18 on the 23.01.17

Anna, I think I might have said this to you before on Insta, but I am absolutely obsessed with this recipe. I make it every Sunday evening and it’s my favourite thing to eat; I always look forward to it! Thank you SO much! 🙂 x

Posted by Anna at 9:48 on the 30.01.17

Thanks so much Jade, that’s so wonderful to hear

Posted by Linzi at 8:13 on the 24.01.17

You are brilliant. I love your recipes they are so easy to follow.

Posted by Katherine Rossmoore at 12:28 on the 29.01.17

I am wondering if one needs to pour boiling water over fresh coconut?

Posted by Kristen at 10:17 on the 31.01.17

I have never used curry leaves before. Are they fresh or dried?
Loved the Brunch Rice!
Thank you!

Posted by Anna at 3:43 on the 01.02.17

Hi Kristen, you can use either. Fresh curry leaves can be kept in the freezer for as long as needed, but dried work well – they just don’t have quite as strong a flavour. Hope that helps. AJ x

Posted by edel at 3:06 on the 20.02.17

I love reading your writing, as you have wonderfully evocative prose, the one thing that stops me buying your books (I have eaten some food from your recipes as my friend is a great cook) is that there is no nutritional information. I am (tediously) counting calories at the moment-fruits of years of excess- So as a suggestion for online/books, it would be great to see some calorie counts.

Posted by Komal Shah at 6:48 on the 13.03.17

I bought the book a year ago and have made this dhal multiple times. My husband says it’s the best he’s ever tasted! Thanks Anna!

Posted by fiona collier at 6:55 on the 26.04.17

hello, i have bought your book but can’t seem to find the recipe at all in it? Is it called something else in the book – i have scrolled through most of it?


Posted by Anna at 8:36 on the 27.04.17

Hello Fiona, this recipe is in my first book, A Modern Way to Eat. Not sure which one you have? But hopefully you can use the recipe online either way. All best wishes, AJ x

Posted by Helen at 7:05 on the 16.07.17

My favourite recipe from my favourite book, thanks so much we eat this often – my little ones love it too.

Posted by Anna at 10:17 on the 19.07.17

thanks so much Helen, so lovely to hear those kind words

Posted by Alan B at 8:06 on the 30.11.17

Where do you get curry leaves….? Not the supermarket..

Posted by anna at 2:10 on the 25.01.18

looks amazing – last time I made dahl, it took forever for the lentils to soften and even after lengthy cooking they still had quite a bit of bite to them. is there a specific kind I need to use? should they be split red lentils? thanks.

Posted by David & Carole at 8:32 on the 03.02.18

Our Stars must have been perfectly allianed when we found ‘ A Modern Way to Eat’, making our extensive collection of cookery books now redundant! Page 128 …..WOW!

Posted by Lynda at 7:12 on the 08.03.18

Fantastic combo! My partner has recently become a vegan and I’ve struggled for inspiration but this went down a storm – will definitely be a regular meal in our house from now on. Thank you.

Posted by Vegan Dad at 7:34 on the 22.04.18

This was fantastic – thanks so much for sharing online. I made it for my carnivore family. They ate every last bit of it. I’ll confess I didn’t go as far as the chutney, because I wanted to be sure the main parts worked. But I’m definitely making this dish again – and next time I’ll put the jar of mango chutney away and prepare your coconut version instead.

Posted by Kay at 10:51 on the 31.05.18

Hi I am just making this recipe and wondering what to do with the lemon juice? Thank you.

Posted by anna. at 9:42 on the 04.08.18

Hi ,just read this recipe -exactly what we make in india – for centuries -nice to know its spreading — indian food with new names — the source is indian cooking —

Posted by Judith Clowes at 3:18 on the 09.02.20

My foodie niece sent me this recipe as part of a vegetarian challenge we have going with her mother and I could not believe how delicious it was – even my carnivore husband gave it 8 out of 10! Now that I have all the spices in my store cupboard we shall definitely be eating this again and again. Many thanks.

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