Friday, March 24, 2017

Recipe: Tarka Dhal (Vegetarian)

Last week, we were at the supermarket doing our grocery shopping. Hubby picked up a pack of Australian dhal and told me that he wanted to try making dhal at home. No problem, I said... afterall, all I had to do was EAT ;)

Making dhal at home is very easy - simply simmer the dhal until soft, and then add ground spices, tomatoes, chillies, curry leaf and other ingredients to it. I roughly mash about half the dhal as I feel it's more creamy this way.

Homemade dhal is so yummy - I love the thick texture compared to the watery version you get at mamaks. Incredibly cheap too, we spent less than RM2 to make a batch enough to feed 4 persons. Dhal is super healthy too, making it the perfect comfort food.

Please check out the recipe video on my YouTube channel

Tarka dal
Recipe by Baby Sumo, adapted from here
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Serves 4

250g chana dal (yellow dried split peas), rinsed until the water runs clear
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 small onion, chopped
3 whole green chillies, pricked with a knife  (we used cili padi)
2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tomatoes 
3/4 tsp ground turmeric
3/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground cumin 
3-4 stalks fresh curry leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the lentils and 900ml of water into a pan, stir well and bring to the boil. Skim off any froth that forms on the surface of the water with a spoon. Cover the pan with a lid and reduce to low heat. Simmer, stirring regularly, for 35-40 minutes, or until the lentils are just tender, adding more water as necessary.

2. When the lentils have cooked through, remove the pan from the heat. Set the mixture aside to thicken and cool.

3. Blend the garlic and tomatoes to a purée in a food processor or blender. Set aside.

4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and fry for 20-30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the onion, chillies, curry leaf and ginger and saute for 4-5 minutes, or until golden-brown. Add the purée (from Step 3) to the pan and stir well to combine.

5. Add the ground spices and 100ml of water to the pan and stir well to combine. Season, to taste, with salt and simmer over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the oil from the sauce has risen to the surface of the sauce.

6. Add the cooked lentils to the sauce and stir well, adding more hot water as necessary to loosen the mixture. Bring the mixture to the boil and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roughly mash half of the lentils using a potato masher. Serve hot with roti canai (paratha) or chapati.

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  1. I love dhal dip like that, thick and rich, lots of dhal. Very often at the shops and stalls, so diluted, such a disappointment.

  2. i'm a major fan of dal ... i could just eat them on their own, even without any roti (though i'm more than happy to spread them on flatbread and rice). i've never had home-made dal before though! :)


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