Tarka dhal comes in many guises, but usually contains yellow split peas, chana dhal, and/or red lentils (masoor dhal), various spices, chilli and garlic. In UK Indian restaurants, it can be served thick or thin, but in India, a thin and soup-like consistency is the norm. The use of mustard seeds and curry leaves as ingredients comes from southern India. "Tadka" refers to the process of heating the spices in oil and pouring over the cooked lentils.
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- 200 g yellow split peas
- 1 litre water or vegetable stock
- 15 ml oil
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- Garlic to taste, diced (I used 2 bulbs)
- 4 Indian green chillies, chopped
- 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon turmeric, ground
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon coriander, ground
- A few curry leaves
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes or 400g ripe tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
- Fresh coriander leaves, chopped
- Rinse the split peas and place in a saucepan covered with the water or stock.
- Bring to the boil, skim and lower the heat.
- Cover, and then simmer for 30-40 minutes until the peas are cooked.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil and the ghee in a frying pan.
- Add the onion and fry until slightly browned.
- Add the garlic and chillies and fry until the garlic is golden.
- Tip into bowl and reserve.
- Add the mustard seeds to the same pan and when they have started to pop, stir in the turmeric, garam masala, coriander and curry leaves.
- Cook for a further minute then add the tomatoes.
- Season and simmer for 7 minutes.
- Add the spice mixture to the split peas, return to the heat and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes.
- Add more stock if it becomes too thick.
- Serve in soup bowls and place some of the onion on the top
Serve with naan bread or chapattis.
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