Tarka Dahl


Inspired by an Indian family than I had the pleasure of working with, this recipe is my take on the popular vegetarian lentil curry that is low fat, 1 of your 5 a day and packed with fibre and meat free protein.

Serves 4 as a main


200g red lentils

1 tsp turmeric

1 knob butter

2 tsp rapeseed oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 small onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, crushed or sliced (your choice!)

1-2 fresh green chilli, finely sliced (removed the seeds if you want to keep the heat down)

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1cm cube fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

2-3 tomatoes, chopped small

Fresh coriander, to serve



  • Place the lentils in a pan and cover with enough cold water to come to around one 3cm above their surface. Bring to the boil (skim off any scum that rises to the top), then reduce to a simmer and stir in the turmeric and the butter. Then cover and leave to cook gently for approximately 30-40 minutes.
  • Dry fry the cumin seeds for about a minute until toasted and fragrant. Set aside to use later.
  • Heat the rapeseed oil in a frying pan and gently fry the garlic, onion, chilli, ginger and tomatoes.
  • When the garlic is starting to colour, mix in the cumin seeds, garam masala and ground coriander. Remove from the heat until the lentils are completely softened.
  • Give the lentils a good stir. You will know they are cooked when they are a similar consistency to porridge. (when it is first cooked it may still look a bit runny but as it cools slightly and is dished up it will thicken).
  • Once you are happy wit the consistency of the lentils, stir through the onion and spice mix from the frying pan.
  • Season to taste, then serve topped with the fresh coriander and brown rice or a naan bread (slightly less healthy option). Enjoy!!

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