Quick tarka daal

A daal doesn’t need to take hours to make. With quick cooking lentils you can have this done in well under an hour. Warm and satisfying, this is a dish I could eat every single day!

Serves 4 as a side

For the lentils:
120g quick cook red lentils
4 inches ginger, cut into matchsticks
1 green chilli, halved and deseeded

For the tarka:
8 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
1 large red onion, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
20 curry leaves
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
2 tomatoes, roughly diced
30 turns black pepper

Pour the lentils into a saucepan and cover with water so that the liquid is about an inch above the top of the lentils. Add in the ginger and chilli, bring to the boil and simmer as per the instructions on your lentils (usually 30-40 minutes).

While the lentils are cooking, heat the oil in a separate pan over medium heat and, when it’s hot, fry the cumin seeds. You should see them sizzle and pop in the pan if it’s hot enough! Cook the seeds for a minute and then add in the onion and fry until they’re gently coloured. Add the garlic and curry leaves and fry everything together for a further few minutes.

Add in your dry spices and cook them carefully for a minute or so, making sure that they don’t burn. Stir in the tomatoes, crack the black pepper into the pan and keep cooking until the tomatoes begin to break down.

If your lentils are ready, you can combine them with the tarka and serve. If you need a bit longer, lower the heat on the tarka and add a small amount of water whenever necessary to keep things loose until the lentils are ready.

Serve with any combination of naan, coriander, raw onion, lime and fresh chillies.

Image via Flickr