Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tarka Dhal

My teaching schedule is really cramping my cooking this semester. A late afternoon course twice a week means needing to have large pots of food cooked up the day before so leftovers can be served up quick for the kids. This is a toned down version of tarka dahl. There are supposed to be dried red chiles in the onion mixture to give the dish some zing, but there is no way the kids will go for any "spiky" dishes. Feel free to punch this up as you see fit.

- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
- 2 1/4 cup water
- 1" piece of ginger, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/4 tsp tumeric
- salt to taste
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tomato, chopped

1. Place lentils, water, ginger, garlic, tumeric and salt in a pot. Bring to boil, reduce heat, loosely cover, and simmer until lentil are thoroughly cooked (about 1/2 hour). Add more water, if needed, or uncover if too runny.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan over med-hi heat. Saute onion with mustard seeds until it turns a nice golden brown. Add in tomato and cook for 2 mins.
3. Pour onion mixture over the lentils, garnish with cilantro, and serve.


Marcia said...

That looks really good. I have a similar recipe, but yours looks like a great alternative. LOVE red lentils.

Risa said...

That looks like a perfect accompaniment to our standard curry. Thanks!

Rachel Kooy said...

This looks great. The perfect dish to come home to. I appreciate the recipe without the zing. The dried red chilies would be too much for me :P

VeganLisa said...

What a perfect recipe for the freezing temperatures that have hit Toronto. I think I know what I'm having for dinner. Thank you for the inspiration!

nora said...

onions + lentils = can't go wrong!

Mers said...

Looks tasty!

Mints! said...

Good One!

Canvas Photos said...

Now this looks like one fantastic meal.

Hannah said...

Hey Vegan Dad - My friends and I (some vegan, most not) in Saint Louis really love your site!

Do you also puree the lentils in this dish? I probably missed something, but the pic looks more smooth than I would think red lentils would (or maybe its because ive only ever used green lentils? are they different?)

Thanks, and rock on!
ps - we make your soups a lot on girls' night :)

NZwithEndo said...

Great! I've been trying to make a good Tarka Dahl since a trip to inida. This one tastes just like it did over there (I added heaps of chillies though). Indian boyfriend thought it was good too.

Beatrice said...

I think leftovers are a major lifesaver during the work week. This looks like a good one to make a double-batch of.

JenMeister said...

Thanks for the recipe! I was craving dhal & this was a nice twist on my usual recipe. I didn't have sweet onions, so I just used a red onion and added a teaspoon of brown sugar (and a teaspoon of chilli flakes... spicy!) It was tasty enough that I didn't miss the garam masala which I usually add to dhal :)

JenMeister said...

@Hannah - yeah, red lentils cook differently to green ones. Red ones are split and basically turn to mush when you cook them! Delicious mush :D

The Rockin' Vegan said...

Sounds incredible - and with a nice short list of ingredients. I've been wanting to make lentil soup this week - I think I'll try this instead. Thanks for posting!

Anonymous said...

The standard tarka technique is:
1. heat oil
2. add spices according to the recipe: mustard seeds in this case and 'fry' them until they pop. (Mustard seeds especially will pop. Cumin seeds will sizzle.) This means they are cooked and releasing their flavour into the oil.
3. THEN add the onions and fry
4. Then add the tomatoes and cook.
5. Then add the spiced oil mixture to the dal and mix, so that the flavours are carried into every part of the dish.

Please don't add the mustard seeds at the end - that defeats the point of tarka.

The word "tarka" means to pop the spices in the oil and add to the dish. It's the name of a specific cooking technique that is one of the hallmarks of Indian cooking.

hellseyduster said...

Love your blog.

I made this last night for dinner and it was delicious, cheap, and fast. I definitely recommend making a double batch if you want leftovers. We ate it over rice and still managed to polish most of it off (between 2 of us).


BTW Is there any significant difference between light and dark mustard seeds?