Quickest Ever Tarka Dhal

Cook Time 35 Minutes

Servings 4


100g red lentils (masoor dal)
½ tsp turmeric
Juice of ½ lemon
Plain yogurt, to serve (optional)
Shop-bought crispy fried onions
Small handful of chopped coriander leaves

1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp butter
¾ tsp cumin seeds
1 very small onion, chopped
4 fat garlic cloves, grated
2 smallish tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
¼ – ½ tsp chilli powder


Bring the lentils to a boil in a saucepan. Once the scum rises to the top, skim it off and add the turmeric. Leave to simmer while you make the tarka.

For the tarka, heat the oil and butter in a frying pan and add the cumin seeds. Once they darken, add the onion and cook until soft and colouring on the edges. Add the garlic and cook gently for one minute, then add the tomatoes, spices and some salt and cook until the tomatoes soften and the whole thing reduces into a paste and releases oil back into the pan, around 15 minutes.

Add the masala to the lentils, making sure you get all of it out of the pan. Cook the lentils for another six to eight minutes or so, or until the whole thing comes together and looks homogenous. It should neither be too thick nor too watery. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding a good squeeze of lemon juice. Serve in warmed bowls, topped with a swirl of yogurt and some crispy onions, if you like, and the coriander.


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