I love this tarka dhal recipe.
It makes a great starter or side dish.
It is easy to make but a bit time consuming. If you want, you can leave the ‘tarka’ out and save both time and calories.
The tarka part of this tarka dhal is just slices of onion that have been shallow fried until crispy and then allowed to dry on paper towels.
The resulting soup without the tarka is still amazing and good for you. It is often used in restaurant style cooking for curries such as lamb Dhansak.
To make this tarka dhal recipe, I use Massoor dhal (split small red lintels). Red lentils are available in most supermarkets though you will find them cheaper at Asian markets. Massoor dhal, unlike other lentils only needs to be washed and rinsed under cold water. I do let mine soak in clean water for about a half hour while I prepare the other ingredients but it isn’t really necessary.
Preparation Time 30 minutes (15 minutes if you are not making the tarka)
Cooing Time 30 Minutes
INGREDIENTS for Indian Tarka Dhal
250g Massoor dhal – washed
4 Tablespoon ghee or clarified butter
fresh curry leaves (optional)
1 Tablespoon white cumin seeds
8 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 one inch cinnamon stick
2 Tablespoons garam masala (preferably home made)
salt and pepper to taste
2 Red onions finely sliced
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For the Onion Tarka
I usually make the onion tarka first. It can be made a couple of days ahead of time and stored in a tight lidded container.
Slice your onions paper thin with a knife or food processor. Heat about one inch of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot enough that a slice of onion sizzles when it is placed in the oil, add a handful of the onion slices.
Toss around in the oil for a few minutes until the onions turn brown. You will probably need to do this in batches. Remove the finished onion tarka to dry paper towels.
Now for the Lentils.
Place the washed massoor lentils in a heavy bottomed pot and cover with about an inch of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the lentils are soft and creamy.
You may need to add a little water if the lentils begin to get too dry.
While the lentils are simmering away, melt the ghee over medium heat.
When the ghee is melted add the curry leaves (if using) cumin seeds, garlic cloves and cinnamon stick. Let the ingredients mingle for about two minutes.
Now add the garam masala and about 2/3 of the onion tarka and then pour in all over the creamy lentils.
With a heavy spoon or whisk, whip it all around into a nice smooth soup and enjoy.
I would love to hear how you get on with this tarka dhal recipe. Be sure to leave a comment. Let me know if you have improved it in any way.
Believe me – you are going to love the tarka dhal!