By Rumana Zahn
250g/9oz red lentils, rinsed well
1 litre/1¾ pints water
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander powder
1 tsp ground cumin powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp mustard seeds
1-3 whole green chillies (or to your taste)
½ tsp salt (or to your taste)
1 tblsp cumin seeds
1 small onion chopped
3 tblsp vegetable oil or ghee
A piece fresh ginger cut into thin strips
3 Garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 tsp garam masala
Freshly ground black pepper
Handful of chopped fresh coriander leaves
- Place the lentils, water and spices in a pan, stir well and bring to the boil. Cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat and simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally or until the lentils are just tender. Add more water if needed.
- When the lentils are cooked, remove the pan from the heat.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin and fry for 20-30 seconds.
- Add the onion, garlic, chillies and ginger and fry until dark golden-brown or caramelised if you prefer a stronger flavour.
- Add the onion mixture (tarka) to the cooked lentils and stir well.
- Bring the mixture to the boil and season to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the chopped coriander and garam masala just before serving.
- Serve with warm rice or naan bread.
- Make extra and freeze to use for another day.
- Use any extra as a dip (add more water to make into a dip consistency) and serve with with raw vegetables.
- Dry the mixture (heat until water reduced), cool and use as a lentil spread over bread, rice cakes, etc.