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    Daal Tarka (Spiced Lentils)

    • Recipes
    • 13 Mar, 2024

    In the culinary tapestry of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, few dishes hold as much significance as Daal (or dal) and its flavourful companion, Tarka (or tadka). Whether enjoyed in the bustling streets of Mumbai or the serene mountains of Nepal, the essence of this humble yet satisfying dish remains constant - a comforting blend of lentils, spices and aromatic seasonings.

    What truly elevates this dish is the Tarka - a fragrant mixture of aromatics, vegetables and spices that dance tantalizingly atop the Daal. As the Tarka is spooned over the Daal, it releases a burst of flavours – chilli, garlic, ginger, cumin and kasuri methi - infusing the dish with layers of complexity and depth. Each ingredient in the Tarka plays a vital role, adding its unique essence to the symphony of flavours.


    Ingredients :


    • 3 cups water

    • 1 cup red lentils (rinsed)

    • 1 cup chopped red onion

    • 1 cup diced tomato

    • 1 serrano pepper (seeded and finely chopped)

    • ¾ teaspoon salt

    • ½ tsp red chilli powder

    • ½ tsp ground turmeric


    • 4 tbsp ghee or rapeseed oil

    • 1 cup chopped onion

    • 1 cup diced tomato

    • 2 dried red chillies (seeded and broken into small pieces)

    • 1 tsp minced garlic

    • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger

    • 1 tsp cumin seeds

    • Kasuri methi

    • Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish


    Serves : 4

    Cooks In : 45 min

    Difficulty : Easy

    Preparation Method :

    To prepare Daal:
    1. Combine water, lentils, red onion, tomato, serrano, salt, chilli powder and turmeric in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Adjust heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender and the mixture is thickened, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir often during the last 10 minutes to prevent burning.

    Meanwhile, prepare Tarka:
    1. Heat ghee (or oil) in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, tomato, chilli, garlic, ginger and cumin seeds; cook, stirring often, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
    2. Serve the Daal topped with the tarka. Garnish with kasuri methi and cilantro, if desired.


    Tips :

    To make ahead you can prepare and refrigerate Daal for up to 3 days.


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