- 175g/6oz red split lentils (masoor dhal)
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 25g/1oz ghee or unsalted butter( use 1 tablespoon oil with unsalted butter)
- ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 2 long slim dried red chillies, torn into 2-3 pieces
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 large cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
‘Tarka’ or ‘Tadka’ means seasoning. When preparing the seasoning for Tarka Daal, the ingredients can vary quite a lot from one region to another. This recipe is one of the simplest.
Wash the lentils in several changes of water and put into a saucepan with 600ml/20 fl oz hot water. Place over a high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 25-30 minutes until soft and thick. Stir in the salt, remove from the heat and set aside, covered.
In a separate pan, heat the ghee or butter and oil over a medium heat until quite hot, but not smoking. Add the mustard seeds, as soon as they pop, add the chillies followed the onion and garlic . Fry until the onion is lightly browned.
Add the cumin and turmeric. Stir for 10-15 seconds and pour the cooked lentils. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the coriander leaves and remove from the heat. Keep the saucepan tightly covered until required, to keep the flavours locked in.
Serve with any bread or Rice and a side dish of your choice.