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Tarka Dal

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“This is again an interpretation of my m-i-l's delicious dal. This recipe makes a lot, but it's great to freeze for future meals.”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • Dal
  • 1 14 cups mung dal (miniature split yellow lentils)
  • 12 cup masoor dal (split red lentils)
  • 3 12 cups water (or more to keep fluid)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger or 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 12 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 hot green chili peppers, chopped finely
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 12 cup cauliflower
  • 12 cup drumstick leaves (well, actually, not the leaves but the drumstick itself, but it won't accept the term- it's a widely)
  • 14 cup curry leaf, loosely ripped
  • 1 12 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Tarka
  • 3 tablespoons rice bran oil (or other healthy oil)
  • 14 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 14 teaspoon kalonji seeds (or black onion)
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 12 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 12 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 dried red chilies (optional, depending on how much heat you like)
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • Garnish
  • 14 cup chopped cilantro


  1. Be sure to rinse all lentils thoroughly, until the water runs quite clear.
  2. In a large dutch oven (or other large pot), add in all the ingredients for the dal and bring to a boil.
  3. Once dal reaches a boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally, mashing lentils down to create a thick (but still quite liquid) mixture.
  4. In a separate skillet, heat oil over high heat. Add in mustard and kalonji seeds, allowing them to sizzle for 5-10 seconds. Add in the onion and the rest of the spices, stirring until the onion starts to brown.
  5. Pour onion/spice mixture over dal, and stir to incorporate completely. Add salt to taste.
  6. Simmer for a further 15 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.
  7. Stir in cilantro just before serving.

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