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I am Louise O'Driscoll, founder of Natural Balance. I am a Certified Eating Psychology Coach, helping people find their way to a healthy and happy relationship with food and body.

Smoked Haddock Dahl

By louiseodriscoll, Sep 23 2014 11:50AM

There's a distinctly Autumnal feel to the air at the moment and most of my family seem to be suffering a bit with colds. Time for some food as medicine in the form of this amazing dahl. I must credit Anna Jones' 'A Modern Way To Eat' book for the base recipe but I have tweaked it to include a little more protein with the addition of smoked haddock (which you can omit if you prefer but you may want to serve it with chapati or bread to bulk out) and I did my own fudge on Anna's coconut chutney. I also used homemade chicken stock rather than vegetable stock, which is again your choice. The result reminded me of a deeply comforting risotto but with much greater health benefits - the turmeric, garlic and ginger to boost our immune systems and nutrient rich spinach, sweet potato, lentils and coconut. You have to try this, it is very easy (though takes a bit of time) and I promise once you have you will cook it again and again.

Serves 2-3 as a main meal, 4 as a side dish without the fish.


2 sweet potatoes, skin on, washed and cut into rough 1.5cm cubes

Sea salt and ground black pepper

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

Olive oil


2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped

A thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

1 green chilli, roughly chopped

1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground cinnamon

200g red lentils

1x 400ml tin of coconut milk

400ml stock (vegetable or chicken)

2 large handfuls of spinach

Small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped, stalks too

Juice of one lemon

2 Undyed smoked haddock fillets

Knob of butter

Black pepper


4 tbsp good mango chutney

50g finely chopped or grated fresh coconut (optional but delicious)

Preheat the oven to 220degC/fan 200/gas7.

Put sweet potatoes in a bowl and toss with some salt and pepper, the cumin and fennel seeds and a drizzle of olive oil. Pop on a roasting tray and into the oven for 20-25 mins until soft and sweet in the middle and crispy on the outside.

In a large saucepan, sizzle the garlic, chilli, ginger and red onion gently 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 these and the cinnamon to the pan - 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 down the heat and bubble away gently for about 25 minutes.

While the dahl is cooking, wrap the haddock fillets in foil with a knob of butter and some black pepper and bake in the oven for 12-15mins.

Mix the mango chutney with the grated coconut.

To finish the dahl, take it off the heat, then stir in the lemon juice, half of the chopped coriander and the spinach. Flake the smoked haddock and add this too. Serve with a spoonful of chutney, some sweet potato and scattered coriander on top, snuggle up (it's definitely a sofa meal for me!) and enjoy.

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