Being a single parent. anything that I can thriftily throw together from the contents of my larder cupboard is a massive win for me! If I've not made it to the supermarket, lentils are often a midweek hero and they really are such a versatile absorb-er of flavour that you can spice them up with whatever you have lurking in the back of your cupboard!
This Tarka Daal is a staple dish for us. If I have the time I love to nurse it over the hob, but on rushed days I throw the ingredients into my slow cooker before the school run and work begins.
The calories and macros below are for serving as is - a big cosy bowl of comfort. But if you want you can serve over rice, with a flatbread, or up protein with a jolly good serving of leafy greens.
250g red split lentils (dry weight)
1.2 litres water
A pinch of black pepper
1 tbsp turmeric
2 small onions, roughly chopped
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp ginger root, grated
1 tbsp cumin
½ tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp tomato puree
Fresh coriander and dried chilli flakes to serve (optional)
First soak the split red lentils for a few hours or overnight. This will reduce the cooking time.
Rinse the pulses in a sieve under a cold tap and pop into a pan with 1.2 litres of water and bring to the boil, skimming off any scum that rises to the top of the pan.
Reduce the heat, throw in a pinch of pepper and the turmeric, then leave to simmer.
Meanwhile, fry the onion, ginger and garlic in a non-stick pan (add a drop of water if it begins to stick), along with the cumin and mustard. Once the onions are soft and translucent, add them into the pot of lentils.
Leave the pot to simmer low and slow for around 45 minutes to 1 hour until the liquid has been absorbed and the lentils have broken down to create a thick, silky, soupy texture.
Remove from the heat and stir in the tomato puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and garnish with fresh coriander and a pinch of chilli flakes if desired.