Friday Food: A Yummy Easy Tarka Dal

Last Monday evening we wanted to have a wholesome “Meatless Monday” dish that would be quick, easy and tasty. Thankfully I had received a recipe card in my vegetable box from Riverford which had a great idea – Dal with spring greens.  What is Dal?  Basically it is yellow split peas (or red lentils) cooked with spices and served with rice.  I was a bit worried, as my husband is distinctly a meat eater, and not the biggest fan of Indian flavours – but this recipe proved to be a big hit. And super easy.


1 small onion
125g (half a cup) yellow split peas or red lentils (rinse these before using and pick through to see if there are any small stones)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, grated
1/2 a chili, seeds removed and diced finely (we used half a green jalapeno as we did not want this too spiced, add more to taste)
1/2 tsp turmeric
heaps of spring greens, stalked removed and sliced into thin strips
handful fresh coriander leaves (to serve)
half a lemon (to squeeze over the top to serve)


For the tarka seasoning to put on top:

2 tsp black mustard seed
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp cumin seeds (I did not have seeds so I used ground cumin and it was ok)


(total time prep to table – about 45 minutes)
1. Soak the split peas / lentils in 600ml boiling water for 10 minutes.
2. At the same time get your rice ready. We use a rice cooker so I just set mine up to go, super easy.
3. Heat some oil and add the small dice onion, fry until soft and translucent. I add a pince of salt to prevent burning.
4. Add garlic, ginger, chili and turmeric and cook for another 2 minutes.
5. Add the split peas (lentils) and their water. Simmer for 20 minutes.
6. Make the tarka now – heat the oil, add the mustard seeds, garlic, chili and cumin and fry until it starts to pop. Set aside.
7. Stir in the spring greens into the split pea mix. At this stage I added a bit more liquid. I used stock, but plain water is fine too.
8. Cook until greens are tender (about 10 minutes).
9. Serve with rice (we served it with a combo of brown long rice and red rice). Top with coriander leaves, a squeeze of lemon, and tarka.

So tasty!

Riverford suggests that you can use any greens for this recipe – spring greens, sprout tops, chard, spinach, savoy cabbage – even shredded fried leeks! It’s really versatile Meatless Monday (or any day) dish that even won over DH, my meat-eating-no-Indian-food-please husband!

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