A couple of months ago someone ran into the back of my car (or to be more accurate their car did – if it had just been a person the damage would have been significantly less). Because of our holiday and Christmas and so on I put off getting it fixed until about 10 days ago. It is due back on Monday but we are currently carless. We live reasonably close to public transport so this hasn’t really affect our lifestyle but it has meant large shopping trips are not possible at the moment. As a result I have been examining my cupboards and have found a veritable food mountain in there waiting to be cooked. The number of lentils in there would feed the average lentil lover (I’m envisioning Neil from the Young Ones here) for about 6 months, my family of happy lentiler and 3 not keen lentil eaters quite possibly 6 years. Happily though L from 500m2 in Sydney asked for a lentil recipe just this week so here is Tarka Dhal. Incidentally tonight seems to be a night of food requests, The New Goodlife has posted a couple of requested recipes too.
Tarka, which I think means seasoning, is basically a cooking method which sees spices and other flavourings fried and added to a nearly cooked dish to enhance its flavour. Often they are fried in butter however here I have just used oil. Feel free to add butter if you want to give the dish a richer flavour.
In this recipe I have combined a number of different lentil varieties but you could use one of these or all three. If you are using just red lentils the cooking time will be shorter and you will need to reduce the amount of water added.
Tarka Dhal (Serves 6)
- 100g each of Chana dhal, Toor Dhal & Red Lentils.
- 2 litres water
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 40g ginger – finely chopped or grated
- 4 cloves garlic – finely chopped or grated
- 4 tbspns oil
- 2 red chillies – split in half
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder (or more to taste)
- 2 large onions
- 2 large tomatoes
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 3/4 tsp garam masala
- a handful (or more to taste) of coriander finely chopped (optional)
Place the lentils in a saucepan with the water, turmeric, ginger & garlic. Bring to the boil and then simmer until cooked (about 30 – 45 minutes). When the lentils have about 10 minutes to go heat the oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and then immediately add onions and fry until golden brown. Add split chillies, chilli powder and tomatoes. Cook for a couple of minutes on high. When the tomatoes are collapsing add the garam masala and then pour the whole lot into the lentil mixture. Stir and season with salt (it will need a reasonable amount). Cook for another couple of minutes, remove from heat, stir through the coriander and serve.
To see what others are dishing up this week, tune in Thursday’s Kitchen Cupboard over at the Gardener of Eden.