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Recipe: Tarka dal

Looking for a wholesome meal? Try spiced lentils, with extra chilli and cumin seeds to kick up the flavour a notch

Image Credit: Supplied
Tarka dal
  • Category:  Main Courses
  • Cuisine:  Asian
  • Preparation time:   5 minutes
  • Cooking time:   30 minutes
  • Total time:   35 minutes
  • Serves:  4-6
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  • 450g pigeon pea lentils (tuvar dal), washed
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1l water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 3 green chillies
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Fried cumin seeds, for garnish


  1. Mix together lentils, 1 tbsp oil, water, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, ginger-garlic paste and green chillies. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until lentils are completely cooked through.
  2. In another pan, heat remaining oil and fry onion until golden brown. Add tomato paste and let it simmer for a minute.
  3. Pour this mixture over cooked lentils and let it all boil together for 5 minutes.
  4. Garnish with garlic and fried cumin seeds. Serve hot.