I wanted to make tarka dal, but couldn’t be bothered to check the ingredients. So I went ahead, ‘hoping that it would turn into tarka dal anyway—well it didn’t, but it still turned out yummy! I love the flexibility dal affords me with regard to the ingredients I can combine with it. Thus, I’ve put Dal #1 in the title, because I’m sure to make many other versions in the future.
This is a bit ‘soupy’ so if you don’t want it that way, 1 less tomato would be fine. Also, I used a bit more of groundnut oil for sauteeing. My friend S said that in India, you’d see this thick layer of oil floating on top of the vats and vats of tarka dal. Ahhhh! The joy of smearing spicy oil on my rice!
1 cup yellow split peas
pinch of fenugreek seeds
½ handful of dried fenugreek leaves
ground nut oil for sautéing
3 large cloves garlic (minced)
4 dried chillies
1 big red onion (julienned)
2-inch ginger (thinly sliced)
2-inch fresh turmeric (thinly sliced)
3 large salad tomatoes (sliced into small pieces)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
sea salt to taste
knob of butter
1. Soak dal in water overnight.
2. Boil dal in fresh water with the fenugreek seeds and leaves until soft. Remove the water and set aside.
3. In a separate pot, heat a generous amount of ground nut oil and sauté garlic, chillies, and onion. Wait until the onion caramelises.
4. Add ginger and turmeric. Mix well.
5. Add the fresh tomatoes. Cover. Allow the juice to run, then add the tinned tomatoes. Cover and stir once in a while, until the juice is almost separating from the oil.
6. Add the boiled dal. Cover and mix once in a while, adding the knob of butter during this time. Allow to simmer until oil is almost separating from the liquid.
7. Serve with plain, steaming rice.