Tarka Dahl

An indulgent main or a hearty starter.


  • 400 g red lentils
  • 8 slices of peeled root ginger 5mm thick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 50 g butter
  • 10 cloves of garlic (peeled and finely sliced)
  • 4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • salt and freshly ground
  • black pepper


  1. Place the lentils in a saucepan, along with the ginger, bay leaf and 1.5 litres (2½ pints) water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10–15 minutes, skimming off and discarding any foam that rises to the surface, until the lentils are soft.
  2. While the lentils are cooking, melt the butter in a small frying pan on a medium–high heat. When the butter starts to foam, add the garlic, cumin and chilli flakes and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes or until the garlic is lightly browned.
  3. Serve the cooked lentils on a bed of boiled rice with the garlic butter poured over the top and seasoned with salt and pepper.


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