Tarka Dal

Tarka Dal Recipe - Healthy and filling red lentils spiced generously with aromatic turmeric, ginger, garlic, and chilies

As I mentioned in my Foodie Guide to Penang last week, there is a wonderful mixture of Malay, Chinese, and Indian cuisines and flavors in Penang, Malaysia. Little India is a must stop when you are in town and the food is amazing. As you approach this unique part of town, you will notice right away a change in the air. This part of town is full of energy (a contrast to Penang’s normally sleepy vibe)– every shop seems to have their own radio blasting Indian music on high and people are out and about selling and buying floral garlands and dresses in every color you can imagine. But most importantly you will smell the distinct aromas of all the wonderful spices.

Tarka Dal Recipe - Healthy and filling red lentils spiced generously with aromatic turmeric, ginger, garlic, and chilies

Tarka dal is an easy, healthy, and affordable dish to make at home that manages to capture a heap of those lush flavors and spices Peter and I encountered in Little India. This recipe is made with red lentils which cook quickly. They are also high in fiber and protein and low in fat. Not only will this tarka dal fill you up, but it’ll keep you full too.

Tarka Dal Recipe - Healthy and filling red lentils spiced generously with aromatic turmeric, ginger, garlic, and chilies

It is seasoned heavily with onions, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, garam masala, and turmeric — many of which are known to have anti inflammatory properties along with a myriad of other health benefits. Because these flavors are so bold, there was almost no need to add any additional salt (but you can of course if your taste buds desire!).

Tarka Dal Recipe - Healthy and filling red lentils spiced generously with aromatic turmeric, ginger, garlic, and chilies Tarka Dal Recipe - Healthy and filling red lentils spiced generously with aromatic turmeric, ginger, garlic, and chilies

You can serve this dish up with a side of rice or flatbread, but I must admit that I was craving neither of those when I made the tarka dal for myself, and I scooped it up instead with potato chips and it was so strangely good that I have to recommend it for those of you who are shameless like me.

Tarka Dal Recipe - Healthy and filling red lentils spiced generously with aromatic turmeric, ginger, garlic, and chilies Tarka Dal Recipe - Healthy and filling red lentils spiced generously with aromatic turmeric, ginger, garlic, and chilies

 

Tarka Dal

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

2-3

Tarka Dal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 2 tsps turmeric
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tsps cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 bird's eye chilies, chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • coriander, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Add lentils to a large pot and cover with 2 inches of water over the top of the beans
  2. Simmer lentils over medium heat, removing any "scum" that may come up to the top of the water
  3. Mix in turmeric and butter and continue simmering until lentils are soft (approx 15 min)
  4. In a large pan, heat cumin and coriander seeds until fragrant
  5. Remove from heat and grind seeds in mortar and pestle
  6. Spoon butter to pan and melt over low-medium heat
  7. Add in onion, garlic, ground cumin, ground coriander, chilies, garam masala, and ginger
  8. Stir until garlic is golden brown
  9. When lentils are soft, pour spice mixture from pan over lentils and mix well
  10. Salt and pepper to taste
  11. Garnish with coriander leaves
  12. Serve warm with rice or bread

Notes

adapted from http://www.jamieoliver.com/news-and-features/features/lentils-and-basic-tarka-dhal-recipe/

Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://newkidonthewok.com/2015/08/03/tarka-dal/

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Tarka Dal Recipe - Healthy and filling red lentils spiced generously with aromatic turmeric, ginger, garlic, and chilies

  • This looks like an interesting dish. I love lentils! Thanks for sharing this. Stacie xo

    • Thank you! It’s a delicious and flavorful dish so I highly recommend it if you are a fan of lentils

  • I LOVE lentils, but have never used the red ones! I also love that you were scooping this up with potato chips…GENIUS! 🙂

    • I like red lentils because they cook so quickly! And yes I was too lazy to make rice or buy bread and it turned out delicious anyways 🙂

  • Jennifer S.

    Good Golly this looks delicious! Good thing the hubs is on the road… I can cook whatever I want! 😀

    • Yes! I do the same and adjust my meals a bit when Peter is away (he wants Tex Mex all day every day which is totally understandable)

  • Patti

    I could use a giant bowl today. It not only looks beautiful, but I bet it tastes beautiful too!

  • this looks yummy and just what my tummy needs!

    elle
    Southern Elle Style

  • I’ve never heard of this, but it looks delicious!

    • It is delicious and filling and quite quick to put together. All musts for me!

  • This looks so good! I know my parents would love this!

  • scribbleprints

    Looks delishious. I pinned this for later. Thanks!

    • Thank you! Let me know if you try it