Store Cupboard Tarka Dal

Tarka Dal Recipe

An intensely aromatic, easy to whip-up Tarka Dal, packed with toasty spices – made almost entirely with store cupboard essentials. Combo with some basmati rice or a soft roti and you’ve got a ready to go week-night dinner!



For the Dal

For the Tarka


To Make the Dal

  1. Place a medium saucepan over a medium heat and add the vegetable oil. Bring to temperature before adding the onion and frying for a few minutes. Do not allow the onion to brown.
  2. Add the garlic and fry for a further few minutes before adding the turmeric, garam masala and tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes, stirring often, until the tomatoes start to lose their shape. Add the dal/lentils along with the boiling water or vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer before covering and turning the heat to low.
  3. Allow the dal to cook for a total of 20-30 minutes, removing the lid to stir regularly. The dal is done when the lentils are completely soft but still hold their shape slightly.
  4. Season with sea salt to taste.

To Make the Tarka

  1. Add the oil to a small saucepan or frying pan and place over a medium low heat. Once the oil is hot, add all the remaining ingredients except the garlic. Stirring constantly, fry the spices for around a minute – do not allow them to burn.
  2. Once the spices are fried and the oil has taken on a slight red hue from the chilli, add the garlic and fry very briefly before removing from the heat and spooning over the cooked dal. Serve with some fresh coriander and some basmati rice or roti (optional).


The process behind this dal recipe couldn’t be more simple – but there are a few key steps. See below for a breakdown of each one.

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