Tarka dhal is perhaps the most well known of Indian dhals, and this recipe is a quick and easy introduction to help you start experimenting with your own dhals.  Serve with simple breads such as naan, roti and chapatti or alongside a curry.

Total prep and cooking time – 1hr

Serves – 4

Serving recommendation: Best served either one its own with flat breads or alongside a hearty curry!

Find out more about Tarka Dhal here!

To get started, ensure you have the kettle boiled for the stock, the wok to make the dhal and a small frying pan for toasting the spices. Happy cooking!


1 White Onion
A thumb of GingerGinger
2 cloves of GarlicGarlic
1 chilli (deseeded)Red Chilli
½ tspCinnamon
2 tspCumin
2 tspPaprika
1 tspGround Coriander
300gSplit Red Lentils
1 LitreVegetable Stock
2 tbspMango Chutney
A knobButter

Step 1:

Place a pan on a medium heat with a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Dice the onion and add to the pan once the oil has heated up. Fry for 5 minutes or until the onion has browned, then remove half the onion and place in a bowl for later. This is going to add the main flavour to the dish.

Step 2:

Whilst the onion is frying, squash the garlic gloves with the back of the knife, deseed the chilli and finely chop both with the ginger. Add these to the remaining onions in the pan.

Step 3:

Once done, put the small frying pan on a small heat and add the spices. Allow to toast for 30 seconds or until the aromas are released, then add to the main pan. Give the pan good stir to mix everything together.

Step 4:

Add the vegetable stock and lentils, leave to simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Whilst simmering the stock will evaporate, so you will occasionally need to add water to cover the lentils again to ensure the dish does not dry out and burn to the pan. After 45 minutes the dhal should be thick and creamy, allow any excess water to evaporate until you are happy with the consistency.

Step 5:

Stir in the butter and mango chutney and season well with salt and pepper. Serve in a large bowl and sprinkle the onion you put aside earlier on top.

Enjoy with friends and family!