Tarka Dhal

Keeping with the recent Indian theme, a final recipe (for the moment at least) from the very reliable Anjum Anand. A delicious side dish or vegetarian main dish as part of a curry meal. I have eaten versions of this dish which have been thin like a soup, thick like a paté and others which are between the two (like this one). All are equally tasty and delicious with roti or any other Indian flatbread.

Ingredients

  •  250g/9oz chana dal (yellow dried split peas), rinsed until the water runs clear
  • 1 litre/1¾ pints water
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1-2 whole green chillies, pricked with a knife
  • 2cm/¾in piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 3 small crushed tomatoes
  • ¾ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¾ tsp garam masala
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • handful chopped fresh coriander leaves (optional)

 

Place the lentils and 900ml/1¾ pints of the water into a pan, stir well and bring to the boil. Skim off any froth that forms on the surface of the water with a spoon. Cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer, stirring regularly, for 35-40 minutes, or until the lentils are just tender, adding more water as necessary.

When the lentils have cooked through, remove the pan from the heat and use a stick blenbder or potato masher to break down the lentils slightly (optional). Set the mixture aside to thicken and cool.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and fry for 20-30 seconds, or until fragrant.

Add the onion, chillies and ginger and fry for 4-5 minutes, or until golden-brown. Add the garlic and tomatoes to the pan and stir well to combine.

Add the ground spices and 100ml/3½fl oz of water to the pan and stir well to combine. Season, to taste, with salt and simmer over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the oil from the sauce has risen to the surface of the sauce.

Add the cooked lentils to the sauce and stir well, adding more water as necessary to loosen the mixture. Bring the mixture to the boil and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the chopped coriander (if using) just before serving.

This recipe can also be found on the BBC website here.