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Tarka Dal with coconut milk

Hits 15828 | Created 2009-08-18 | Modified 2009-08-18

This makes an amazingly tasty and comforting dal. This was, surprisingly, inspired by Rick Stein's similar tarka daal on his Eastern Odyssey programme recently - the Sri Lanka episode. And it's vegetarian / vegan too!

Serves 2-4, takes 30-40 mins



1 x cup red lentils
2 x cup water
1 x chopped chilli (adjust to taste)
1 x tin coconut milk
1 tsp freshly roasted and ground coriander


1 x medium red onion
1 x tbsp oil (coconut oil if you like, or vegetable)
2 x cloves garlic
1 x inch ginger, peeled and grated or chopped finely
few curry leaves (omit if you can't get them)
1 x tsp freshly roasted and ground cumin seeds
1/2 x tsp freshly roasted and ground mustard seeds
1/2 x tsp chilli powder (adjust to taste)
1 x stick of cinnamon, crunched up a bit
2 x chopped tomatoes
salt (daal needs a decent amount of salt)


Roast the coriander seeds - place 2 tsp in a very hot small frying pan until they begin to char and smell aromatic. Then grind in a pstle and mortar until a powder. This roasting and grinding imparts a special flavour to the dal and is worth the trouble.

Gently boil the lentils with the water, coconut milk, chilli and corriander for 20 mins or until lentils are well cooked. Cook with the lid off to reduce the liquid slightly.

Prepare your spices: mash up the chopped garlic and ginger to make a paste. Roast the cumin and mustard seeds and grind.

Now make the tarka - fry the chopped onions in the oil on a medium-high heat in a large frying pan until just about cooked.

Add the rest of the ingredients except the tomato and cook for a few minutes.

Add the tomato, cook another couple of minutes then add everything to the daal.

Add salt to taste, but at least a half teaspoon.

Serve with chapatti, naan, roti, or other bread, or on rice.

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This item has the following tags:
tarka dal daal coconut milk indian spice lentil vegan vegetarian

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