This lentil dal recipe is adapted from a Madhur Jaffrey recipe. Her vegetarian recipes and cookbooks are great and many of her recipes are gluten free vegan. The oil mixture poured on to the lentils is called tarka and adds a lovely depth to the dish. This is great as a main or a side with chickpea and mushroom curry and plain rice – either way delicious!
200 g red lentils
0.5 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbs vegetable oil
0.33 tsp asafoetida (optional but good)
0.5 tsp whole cumin seeds
2 small dried chillies or 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
Half a small onion
1 clove garlic
1. Wash the lentils well in a colander and add to a large pan
2. Add 750 ml cold water and bring to a low simmer. Use a slotted spoon to remove the grey-white scum that collects on the surface throughout cooking
3. Stir in the turmeric, reduce the heat to very low and partially cover with a lid. Cook for 40 mins, stirring occasionally and removing the scum with a slotted spoon
4. Thinly slice the onions and garlic
5. Heat the oil in a small pan and add the asafoetida, cumin and chillies. As soon as the chillies crisp and darken, add the onion and cook until well browned
6. Add the garlic and cook until it just changes colour
7. After the lentils are cooked (~ 40 mins) pour the tarka mixture into the dal, put the lid on and turn out the heat. This will keep warm for half an hour or so until you are ready to serve.