Tarka Dhal with apple raita

I am not sure where you are right now but here in Berlin, the weather has been anything but spring-like which always makes me crave comfort food. Tarka dhal is one of my ultimate quick and easy comfort food fixes, add raita, and you have the perfect home cooked lunch, dinner or meal-prep dish.

But let me give you a quick low-down on this traditional Indian ‘flavour-bomb’, which by the way is a real gut microbe feast as it is made with fibre-rich red lentils, ginger, garlic, chillies, and spices. You can use other lentils too, but the red ones cook particularly fast.

I made the raita with grated apples and spring onion instead of the classic cucumber and mint, and it worked a treat. This combination was the result of a dilemma, because I had forgotten to buy the cucumber- a blessing in this case, as it is very yummy. 🙂

Ingredients – Serves 2

Tarka dhal

  • 200g red lentils – rinsed until the water runs clear
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 1 TBSP of ghee – optional 
  • 3 TBSP of rapeseed oil 
  • 1 onion – finely chopped
  • 1 thumb of ginger – peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 1 TBSP cumin seeds
  • 1 TSP coriander seeds – crushed
  • 2 green chillies, pierced with a knife 
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves – peeled 
  • ½ TSP ground turmeric
  • 1 TSP garam masala
  • Salt & pepper to taste 
  • 1 lime – cut into wedges
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish- optional

Apple Raita

  • 200g of natural full-fat organic yogurt 
  • ½ apple – grated – Tip: the other half is delicious as a snack sprinkled with cinnamon
  • 1 spring onion – finely sliced
  • ½ tsp of garam masala 
  • Salt to taste

Cooking instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a medium size pot and fry onions, ginger, chilies, cumin, and crushed coriander seeds at medium heat for 4-5min until the onions start to brown.
  2. Meanwhile, blend tomatoes, garlic, and ground spices in a tall container until smooth.
  3. Once the onions have started to brown, pour the tomato blend and the vegetable stock into the pot and simmer for 12min.
  4. Then, add lentils to the pot and set the rest of the cooking time according to the cooking time on the package. Add more water if needed, the dal should be nice and moist. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and a tbsp of ghee.
  5. To make the raita, simply mix the ingredients until well combined and season to taste with salt, pepper, and lime juice. Serve the dhal topped with raita and fresh coriander leaves. Serve the lime wedges on the side.

The dhal can be cooked in advance, and it tastes even better the next day, but this should not stop you from digging in straight away. Enjoy !! x