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Tarka Dahl.

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder - if you like your dahl bright yellow you can use more.
  • 1 teaspoon ground chili - half if you like mild, more if you can stand it.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (optional).
  • 1 desertspoon ground cumin.
  • 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds.
  • 1 to 2 desertspoons ground corriander.
  • A few whole cloves and a couple of whole black cardamoms (optional).
  • Handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped (optional).
  • Half a large onion finely chopped.
  • As much garlic as you like - crushed.
  • Juice of one lemon.

Picture? You know the story.

Boil the lentils in plain water in a large pot. They will swell up and absorb the water. Add more water as you go to maintain the consistency of a thick soup. Get the lentils almost tender before you start the rest

Fry the onion gently until it is translucent in a bland vegetable oil. Use more oil than you normally would for the quantity of onions. Browning the onions is not good for the flavor. Fry the whole cumin seeds along with the onions.

When the onions are cooked, add the dry spices, and fry on gently until the oil starts to separate out again. Don't burn the mixture. When the oil starts to separate, dump the contents of the frying pan into the lentils, and add the crushed garlic. Salt the brew to your taste. Cook it gently until the lentils are completely tender, adding extra water if required.

Five minutes before you serve it, add the lemon juice and the chopped coriander leaves. Eat the dahl with Indian nan (bread), or with warmed pitta bread, or serve it over rice. It goes well with chiken tikka or chicken kebabs.

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