Tarka Dahl

Tarka Dahl

Disclaimer: On occasions we may have used a recipe image of a similar nature for illustrative purposes only.

  • Recipe difficulty: Easy
  • Vegetarian
  • 0 of 5
  • Preparation time: 
  • Cooking time: 
  • Serves: Up to 4 people
  • Recipe course: Main dishes

Serves: 2 as a vegetarian main course or 4 as an accompaniment

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes


  1. Place the split peas and lentils in a sieve and wash under running cold water. Put into a pan with 900ml water and bring to the boil. Skim off any froth that rises to the surface. Stir in the turmeric, then cover the pan and simmer, stirring occasionally for 35-40 minutes, or until the lentils are just tender.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir to break down the lentils the mixture will thicken as it cools, so a little water may need to be added.
  3. While the lentils are cooking put the onion, chillies, ginger and garlic into the blender and chop using the coarse chop programme.
  4. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the cumin and mustard seeds and fry until they begin to pop. Add the onion mixture and fry gently for 4-5 minutes, stir in the coriander with 2 tbsp water and the tomatoes, cook a further 2-3 minutes. Add all of this mixture to the lentils and stir together, season if needed. Sprinkle over the garam masala, cover and stand for 1 minute.
  5. Re-heat gently before serving.
  6. If liked, garnish with crisply fried onion.

Tip: For a hotter flavour leave some of the seeds in the chillies. This is an ideal recipe to use frozen garlic and ginger pastes, substitute 10g of each for the amount in the ingredients list.


  • 175g chana dhal (yellow dried split peas)
  • 75g red lentils
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 3 red or green chillies, deseeded
  • 2cm piece fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • 3 tomatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp garam masala

To serve

  • 1 onion, sliced, fried until crisp and brown (optional)

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