Tarka Dahl

2 tbsp ghee (or butter)
2 shallots sliced (or one onion)
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds (I use black ones, they are easier to find)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
8 fenugreek seeds
1 tsp grated fresh root ginger
½ tsp salt
125 g red lentils
1 tbsp tomato puree
600ml water
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice (I prefer lime juice if I can find it)
4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp chilli powder (leave this out if you don’t like hot spice)

Heat half the ghee in a large saucepan and add the shallots.  Cook over a high heat for 2 – 3 minutes and then add the mustard seeds.  Cover the pan until the mustard seeds begin to pop.

Add garlic, ginger, fenugreek and salt.  Stir once, then add the lentils, tomato puree and water.  Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, lemon (lime) juice, and chopped coriander and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes until the lentils are tender.

Transfer to a serving dish.  Heat the remaining ghee in a pan, remove from the heat and stir in the garam masala and chilli powder.  Pour over the the dahl and serve.  Tarka literally means a mixture of whole spices and/or garlic, rapidly cooked over a high heat and added as a final seasoning or tempering to a cooked dish, usually dhal.  I normally serve this with wholegrain basmati rice and/or rootis.

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