Lentil based dishes are a staple food in Indian cuisine. I've previously posted about Sambar which is one of my favourite dishes as well as Channa Dhall which is a chunkier Dhall dish.
Lentils are an amazing source of protein and can be a dish all on its own. Tarka, also known as Tadka, is the technique where spices are fried in oil or ghee to bring out the essential oils and flavour from the spices before being poured, together with the oil, into a main component of the dish - in this case the Dhall.
The recipe for this dish, made by The Lovely Wife, comes from 30 Minute Indian by Sunil Vijayakar. This book has yielded many a good recipe and although I scoffed at her when she first bought this book, I have to admit that it has provided some very good recipes and we have all enjoyed her exploits from this book.
This is her take on the recipe.
250g red split lentils
1 litre hot water
4-5 large tomatoes - chopped
2 chillies - chopped
1/2 tsps turmeric powder
2 tsps fresh ground ginger
4 Tbsp fresh coriander - chopped
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic - sliced thinly
1 dried red chilli - cut into pieces
Soak the lentils in boiling water for 10 mins. Drain and put into a large saucepan together with the 1 ltire of hot water. Bring to the boil and spoon off any scum that floats to the top. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes or till soft and tender.
Drain the lentils and process in a food processor. Return the puree to the pan together with the tomatoes, chillies, turmeric, ginger and coriander. Season with salt and pepper and allow to simmer gently.
Make the tarka by heating the oil in a separate pan. Add in all the ingredients for the tarka and fry until fragrant, stirring constantly. Remove the tarka from heat and add into the Dhall. Stir to combine.
Dhall goes really well with rice and also flatbreads - I've probably said that before but its worth repeating. This Dhall is the sort of dish that you can never seem to get enough off and after one serving of rice, I had another smaller one and then another after that! The Lovely Wife didnt stop me from stuffing my face with this Dhall as after all, it is such a good source of protein and healthy, healthy, healthy!
The only complaint that she had was that I had a little too much fun with my princess where I would call out "Takda" and my princess would reply "Dhall" repeatedly like this...
Takda, Takda, Takda!... Dhall!
You can understand why The Lovely Wife was irritated. I do wonder how she puts up with me sometimes...