Tarka Dhal for Dinner

>> Thursday, June 3, 2010

I see this dish spelled both "Tarka Dhal" and "Tarka Dal" -- so, if I'm making an error in the title, I apologize. No matter how you spell it, though, this recipe is incredible. It's just one version of many dhals that are served throughout India. And since many of these folks are vegetarian, dhals are a key part of the diet there. As a vegetarian myself, I can assure you the same will be the case for me (and Stephen)!

So, in our last post, we covered the beauty of the microwaved sweet potato. You can eat it plain. You can eat it smothered in cheese. And now -- you can eat it covered in spices. With red lentils. And garlic. And eggplant. Etc.

Here's how . . .

What you'll need . . .
  • 2 tablespoons canola or sunflower oil
  • 1 medium cooking onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (heaping) red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 sweet potato, microwaved
  • 1/2 eggplant, chopped
  • 2-1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Method . . .
  1. Poke holes in your sweet potato with a fork and microwave on high for five to six minutes. Remove from microwave, and gently scoop the potato out of its skin. Mash 1 tablespoon of it . . . and chop the rest into soft cubes.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the canola or sunflower oil in a large pan and add the onions. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes over high heat, then add the coriander seeds. Cover pan until the seeds begin to pop. (You'll hear it.)
  3. Remove the lid from the pan and add the garlic, ginger, and salt.
  4. Stir once and add the lentils, 1 tablespoon of the sweet potato mash, and water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir in the sweet potato cubes, chopped eggplant, lemon juice, and basil and let simmer for another 10 minutes. (Until lentils are tender.)
  6. Remove from heat and serve into bowls.
  7. Mix together the other 1 tablespoon of oil with the garam masala and chili powder (this is a topping). Pour over the tarka dhal and enjoy!

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