Tarka dahl

When this spiced to perfection, it is one of the most satisfying things to eat and you can keep going at its bowl after bowl. I like topping it with roast tomatoes for an extra boost of sweetness but this is because I often have tomatoes that need using up. Don’t worry if you have no extra tomatoes lying around, make sure you have some roti and a bowl of plain white rice.


400g/14oz heaped 2 cups mung dahl (yellow split mung beans). rinsed well

2 garlic cloves, finely

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

5cm/1 ¾ piece of fresh ginger root peeled and grated

2 tsp ground turmeric

2 tsp mustard seeds

A pinch of chili flakes

400g/og/14oz can of plum tomatoes

1 handful of coriander/cilantro

Roti’s, warmed, to serve cooked white rice, to serve (optional) sea salt and freshly ground blackpepper


About 4-6 tomatoes, quartered a drizzle olive oil


1.Put the mung beans in a large pan, add a pinch of salt and just cover with water. Bring to the boil over a high heat, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until thick, sloppy and the beans are soft. You will need to skin away and discard any scum that comes to the top of the pan.

2.While the mung beans are cooking, preheat the oven to 190 c/375 f/gas 5.

3.To make the roast tomato topping, put the fresh tomato in a roasting pan, drizzle over the oil and season well with salt and black pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes until tomatoes are charred and sweet.

4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan, add onion, season with salt and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes until beginning to soften. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for a minute more. Stir in the turmeric, mustard seeds and chili flakes.

5.Add the canned tomatoes and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down, add cook dahl and simmer with the lid partially on for 30 minutes, topping up with hot water from the kettle as necessary. It should be the consistency of soup. Taste and season some more if needed.

6. Top with the coriander/cilantro and serve with a pile of warmed roti and some plain white rice, if you like.