If you've ever been to an Indian restaurant in North America, you've probably seen "tarka dal" on the menu. Almost always a bowl of yellow lentils cooked and mashed to a thick soup-like consistency, the name "tarka dal" is actually a generic term for any cooked dal tempered with a a final addition of seeds and spices fried in hot oil — the "tarka" — to give it a simple but elegant finish.
This version of tarka dal uses toor dal, otherwise known as toovar dal or split pigeon peas, which I find are a slightly sweeter and more full-textured dal than most. These and other ingredients in this recipe are easily available at any Indian or Asian grocer, but you can substitute yellow split peas for the toor dal. With very little preparation or cooking time, this tarka dal is an excellent addition to a full-course Indian meal, or makes a quick and simple but lovely Indian supper by itself with rice and a green salad. If you'd like to serve it in bowls almost as a soup, as I find most Indian restaurants do, add another 3/4 cup of water to the dal while cooking to thin the consistency.
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Published on December 16, 2007
Simple, spicy and flavorful dry-textured pigeon pea curry — a south Indian classic