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Tarka dahl

February 20, 2013

As a main with rice or as a side dish, tarka dahl is a delicious favourite.

about 1/2 litre of water — more if the mixture gets too thick
about 200g red lentils, rinsed
about 100g chickpeas, cooked
1 mild chili, finely chopped
1/2 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 fresh tomato, chopped (optional)
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp salt (sea salt for preference)
juice 1/2 lemon

for the tarka spices
1 tbsp peanut or sunflower oil
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1/2 dozen curry leaves

Add all of the ingredients except for the tarka spices and lemon juice to a pan and bring to the boil. Turn down to a gentle simmer and cook for about 25 minutes. The lentils should be mostly disintegrated creating a thick soup-like consistency. Increase cooking time if necessary until the texture is right. Then add the lemon juice, stir and check for seasoning.

In another pan, heat the oil very hot. Carefully add all the tarka spices including the garlic and stir gently and continuously. When the mustard seeds start to pop (about 30 seconds), remove from the heat and pour the spices and oil over the dahl mixture (be careful in case the oil spits). Give the dahl a quick stir to swirl the oil in. Serve garnished with fresh, chopped coriander if available.

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