I love Indian food, the aromatics, the flavours. While I love a good curry I do like making really simple easy homemade tarka daal. This is my go-to when I want some of those Indian flavours without much effort on my part.
While most people would immediately think of Indian food when they hear the words Tarka Dall, my immediate thought is lentil soup. I adore lentil soup. It was my total favourite when I was growing up and my Mum made it every week.
Tarka Daal to me is so full of lentils that is just like a slightly (and only slightly!) thicker version of Mum’s lentil soup but with added spice.
Lentils are the basis of this easy homemade tarka daal and are total comfort food for me. They are like a cozy blanket that is all wrapped around in memories. Memories of bowls of bright orange lentils soaking on the kitchen worktop overnight. Then that gorgeous homemade lentil soup that would be made the next day.
Of course you don’t have to soak your lentils overnight. You don’t even really need to soak them for a couple of hours. But I still like to soak my lentils . It really helps those pulses to colapse completely when cooked. That’s how you get that rich creaminess in your daal (or soup for that matter).
Easy Homemade Tarka Daal
It’s all about those lentils and the flavour you are going to pack into them. That’s where the veggies and spices come in. At this time of lock down this is a great basic little recipe to have up your sleeve to use up odds and ends of veggies in the fridge.
I used onions, garlic, a little piece of ginger, a carrot and stick of celery.
Spices, of course you need spices. I have used turmeric (oh so healthy), cumin, chilli flakes and some fresh coriander that was hanging about on the windowsill.
Bringing these lovely aromatic spices together with that veggie base and those lentils is what will make this tarka daal so tasty.
Once I’ve soaked and drained my lentils I toss them into a pan with water and bring them to a boil. Meanwhile I saute all my veggies and spices and then throw the whole lot into the pan of lentils and leave everything to simmer away for about 45 minutes.
That’s it. That is how simple this easy homemade tarka daal is.
I like to serve mine just with pitta breads. Okay let’s be honest, any bread at all will do to scoop up this gorgeous soupy mixture of tastiness. You could of course serve it on the side with a curry if you were going all out on a curry night. Or just serve it as a warming cozy dip.
Want to make it into a soup instead? Just add more water. This is such a great wee recipe and so ecconomical too. Oh and it’s vegan as well. See, I’m ticking all the boxes with this one!
However you serve this easy homemade tarka daal I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
Looking for more tasty and easy dip ideas to try? Then check these out before you go;
Warm artichoke dip
Finally, if you do try this recipe don’t forget to leave a comment/star rating below as I just love to hear from readers. Want more Larder Love? Then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and sign up for my newsletter too of course.
Easy Homemade Tarka Daal
- 250 g red lentils
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 stalk celery finely chopped
- 1 carrot finely chopped
- 1 tsp ginger grated fresh ginger, or 1/2 tsp ground ginger instead
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- salt and pepper to taste
- coriander fresh coriander to serve
- Soak the lentils for 1 hour or overnight if you remember
- Drain lentils and place in a pan with 1 litre of water and bring to the boil then simmer
- Meanwhile in a frying pan saute the onion, garlic and ginger for 5 minutes in the oil and add all the spices
- Add the other veggies and stir and saute for 5 more minutes adding the tomato puree
- Toss this veggie mix into the lentil pan and stir well adding your seasoning
- Leave it for about 45 minutes till it all thickens up and add the fresh coriander to serve
- Want to make it into a soup, add more water!