Tarka Dal

This is a simple dal dish which is just perfect for an accompaniment to most curry dishes. I also like it on its own with a bit of rice or bread. It’s very very easy to make. The tarka at the end adds an extra dimension to this dish which is essential to making it authentic, so don’t skip it!



1 onion (chopped)
1 cup split red lentils
1 fresh red chilli (chopped)
1 fresh green chilli (chopped)
1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin
1 heaped teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt

1 small onion (very finely chopped)
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
20 curry leaves

Put all the dal ingredients together in a pan with 3 cups water and bring to a simmer. Cook gently over a low heat for 25-30 minutes until thick and creamy. Remove from the heat.

To make the tarka: Heat the oil over a medium/high heat until just smoking. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and sizzle for 10-15 seconds. Add the curry leaves and stir briefly. Tip in the onion and stir fry for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat then tip the tarka into the dal. Stir well and serve.

Serve with plain boiled rice or alongside another dish.

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