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How To Make Tarka Dal

How To Make Tarka Dal

Tarka Dal Recipe. Tarka or "tadka" is a process of cooking in which spiced butter is used to season a dish. This is a classic, comforting lentil dish. Manju Malhi's recipe is fantastic with fresh coriander leaves and hot naan bread. Try our Tarka Dal recipe.


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Step 1: You will need

  • 300 g red dal or lentils
  • 850 ml water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 30 g butter
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 15-20 g of fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 frying pan
  • 1 spatula
  • 1 sharp knife
  • 1 teaspoon

Step 2: Lentils

Put 300g of red dal into a sieve, and rinse with cool water under a tap, until the water runs almost clear.

Bring 850ml of water to the boil in a non-stick pan, and add the lentils. Then, straight away add a teaspoon of turmeric and 1/4 teaspoon of ground coriander. Stir, then leave to bubble gently for 15 to 20 minutes, until the lentils are soft, and the water is frothy. Stir occasionally.

Step 3: Chop

Cut the ends off a medium onion, and finely chop.

Crush 2 cloves of garlic slightly. Remove the skin, and finely chop.

Step 4: Spice the butter

Over a medium heat, melt 30g of butter in a non-stick frying pan. Then, add 1/4 teaspoon of cumin seeds, and about a 1/4 teaspoon of asafoetida.

Step 5: Onion and garlic

Add the chopped onion and garlic to the frying pan, and fry until the onion starts to brown. This will take about 6 minutes.

Step 6: More spice

Sprinkle in 1/4 teaspoon of chilli powder. Keep stirring.

Step 7: Lentils

Add the boiled lentils to the pan. Keep frying for another 3-4 minutes. The lentils will absorb the flavours of the butter and spices. The tarka dal is well on its way to being ready.

Step 8: Garam Masala

Add half a teaspoon of Garam Masala, and stir. Take the pan off the heat.

Step 9: Serve

Top the dal with a knob of butter, and scatter some fresh chopped coriander leaves to garnish.