Saturday, 1 December 2012

Tarka Daal

Cheap, tasty and healthy - perfect combination and my favourite comfort food during the winter months. tarka simply refers to the spices that are fried and added to the lentils and dal just means a split pulse. 

ingredients (serves 4): 
400g split red lentils
1 tsp of turmeric 
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 white onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch knob of ginger, finely sliced
3 green finger chillies, finely chopped (to add a bit more heat I slice an additional two in half and add to the lentils when adding the tarka to the lentils)
1 tsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of ground coriander 
salt to tase
bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped

wash the lentils in several rinses and soak in cold water for around 30 mins
drain and add to a large pan and cover with cold water - i'm quite liberal in terms of measurements but you want the water to comfortably cover the lentils. if you end up adding to much you can always leave the mixture to reduce, or if it's too thick, add more water later on
stir in the turmeric
bring the water to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer for the lentils to tenderise and cook through (around 30 minutes), stirring regularly
whilst the lentils are cooking, heat some oil on a medium heat in a frying pan and add the mustard seeds. when they begin to 'pop' around in the pan, add the chopped onion and fry for a couple minutes
add the ginger, garlic and chillies and fry for a further 3-4 minutes 
add the spices and salt and fry gently for 5 minutes 
pour the contents into the lentil mixture once it's cooked through and simmer for a few minutes
add the chopped coriander

serve with plain rice or flat breads 

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