Delicious and comforting Tarka Dal.

Delicious and comforting Tarka Dal.

Serves 4-6
Prep time 10 mins

Cooking time 1 hour

Vegan, gluten free, sugar free

Oil, butter or ghee
1 onion
8 garlic cloves
Fresh ginger (a piece about an inch and a half in size)
Green chillies (4 or 5)
Salt (heaped teaspoon)
Garam masala (heaped teaspoon)
Turmeric (level teaspoon or one inch piece if using fresh)
Cumin powder or seeds (heaped teaspoon)
Ground coriander (1 heaped teaspoon)
Fenugreek (teaspoon of dried leaves)
Lemon juice (half lemon)
Fresh coriander leaves (handful, chopped)
Fresh tomatoes (3 medium sized, chopped)
Red lentils (200g, but just add more lentils if you want to make a larger batch)
Green lentils (100g)
Optional: handful of fresh spinach to add to the pot towards the end of cooking and some greek yoghurt to serve


  1. Wash the lentils thoroughly and leave in a pan of water for 20 mins. Then drain the water away, add fresh water and put on to boil. 
  2. Skim off any froth from the boiling lentils, then add the turmeric. Make sure it's blended, grated or finely chopped if using the fresh stuff. Let this simmer.
  3. For the tarka, chop and cook the onions in some oil, butter or ghee and blend or finely chop the other vegetables (ginger, chillies, garlic).
  4. Once the onion has softened but before it browns, add the vegetables. Cook for a few minutes on a medium heat to let the flavours infuse. Turn the heat right down then add spices (salt, masala, cumin, ground coriander) and mix together.
  5. Add the tarka to the lentils and give the pot a good stir. 
  6. Squeeze in the lemon juice, add fenugreek leaves, fresh coriander and tomatoes and leave to simmer with the lid on for about 30mins. Check and stir after about 15 mins.
  7. You're aiming for a fairly thick consistency to the dhal will be packed with flavour and have a lovely texture. So reduce down for another 15mins or until you're happy with it. Add a handful of fresh spinach in the last 15mins if you have some. Taste along the way and then enjoy!

Serve with dhay/yogurt/raita and a chapati or rice.