V/Ve/GF Is it a soup? Is it a curry? You can enjoy it as both! In India, dal means both the many different pulses you cook with and also countless lentil-based soups and curries. The dish has two parts: the cooked lentils themselves, which are incredibly comforting on their own, and the spicy fried onion dressing or ‘tarka’.
Makes 4 servings (or 8 side dish portions)
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 25–30 minutes
250g red split lentils, 883
1 small onion, chopped, 38
1 small red chilli, chopped, 4
2cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated, 4
100g tomatoes, roughly chopped, 18
1 teaspoon turmeric, 5
75g spinach, 19
Freshly ground salt and black pepper
Tarka (fried spicy onions): serves 4, 37 calories per person
1 teaspoon whole cumin and mustard seeds, 8
15g butter, 108, or 3 teaspoons coconut oil, 123
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced, 19
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, 8
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced, 4
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Experiment with different lentils, following the packet instructions as most types take a little longer to cook than split red lentils. You can also vary your tarka – add different whole spices, garam masala, curry leaves, shallots or ginger. For a more indulgent dal – wonderful on a non-fasting day – use a little less water to cook and add 100ml coconut milk (233 calories) towards the end of the cooking time.