The Simplest Daal

tarka daal

I have a deep appreciation for meals such as this daal and it amazes me every time how with a few simple (and cheap) ingredients you can achieve such a beautifully vibrant and nutritious dish. We eat this weekly in some form or other- sometimes crowned with a fried egg or leftover sweet potato or cauliflower fried in the tarka spices… and sometimes just simply by itself. The girls have it stirred through rice with either an egg (a bit kegeree-esque) or with roasted salmon and always some peas.

The optional Tarka adds so much flavour so I’d highly recommend you do it! I always use curry leaves but they can be hard to come by so just leave them out if you can’t get your hands on some.

daal ingredients

The Simplest Daal

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced or chopped
  • 1 heaped cup red lentils
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 litre (4 cups) water or vegetable stock

For the Tarka:

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 8 curry leaves

Pop all the daal ingredients in a medium sized saucepan and place over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and then reduce to simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to stop it catching on the bottom.

Five minutes before your daal is ready heat the Tarka oil in a frying pan and when hot add the remaining ingredients. Cook for 30 seconds or until the seeds are popping and the fragrance is released. Immediately remove from the heat and pour over your daal. Serve in bowls with plenty of bread to mop up all the flavour. tarka ingredients

I hope you love the recipe and it becomes a weekly hit in your house too!

Lyndsay x


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