Tarka Dhal recipe

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serves: 4 - 6
Skill: easy
Cost: cheap
Prep: 10 min
Cooking: 1 hr 05 min

Nutrition per portion

Calories 137 kCal 7%
Fat 11g 16%
  -  Saturates 1g 5%
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  • This delicious, creamy and flavour full Tarka Dhal is a classic Indian side dish that is served with Naan bread along with a spicy chicken tikka masala. Dhal is yellow dried split peas cooked and mixed together with turmeric, ginger and plenty of garlic. Topped with fresh chill flakes, this tasty side dish takes 1 hr to rustle up and is well worth the wait. Triple tested in the Woman’s Weekly kitchen, this classic recipe is sure to please.


    • For the Dhal:
    • 250g chana dhal (yellow dried split peas), rinsed well
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1 level tbsp freshly grated ginger
    • 1 level tsp turmeric
    • 2 bay leaves
    • Salt
    • For the tarka:
    • 2tbsps ghee or vegetable oil
    • ½ level tsp cumin seeds
    • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
    • 1 clove garlic, crushed
    • Pinch of chilli flakes


    • Boil 1 litre water and add the chana dhal, garlic, ginger, turmeric and bay leaves. Return the mixture to the boil and skim off any scum from the top. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer the mixture for 45-60 mins, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens.

    • To make the tarka, heat the oil or ghee in a pan, then add the cumin seeds and cook for a few seconds. Add the onion, garlic and chilli to the pan. Cook over a medium heat for 10-15 mins, or until the onion has softened. Remove the pan from the heat.

    • If the dhal mixture is still runny, remove the pan lid and increase the heat to reduce the liquid, stirring well.

    • Once the dhal has softened and is almost smooth, season with salt. Serve with the tarka spooned on top, reheating it if necessary. The tarka may be stirred into the dhal and frozen for up to a month. Defrost before reheating.

    Top tip for making Tarka Dhal

    To freeze pop in an airtight container or freezer bag, label and use within 3 months

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