Tarka Dal...

"Dal (also spelled Dahl or Daal, or Dhal) ( Hindi: दाल Dāl, Nepali: दाल Daal, Bengali: ডাল Dāl, Kannada: ಬೇಳೆ Bēḷe, Malayalam: Parippu, Marathi: डाळ Ḍāḷ, Tamil: பருப்பு Paruppu, Telugu: పప్పు Pappu, Dāl, Urdu: دال, Gujarati:દાળ) is a preparation of pulses (dried lentils, peas or beans) which have been stripped of their outer hulls and split. It also refers to the thick stew prepared from these, a mainstay of Indian, Nepali, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, and Bangladeshi cuisine. It is regularly eaten with rice and vegetables in Southern India, and with both rice and roti (wheat-based flat bread) throughout Northern India & Pakistan. Dal is a ready source of proteins for a balanced diet containing little or no meat. Sri Lankan cooking of dal resembles that of southern Indian dishes." - by Wikipedia.org

Recently I'm fascinated with Indian cuisine, to be honest not only cuisine but the whole country - it's history, religion, people, geography :) This was my first time making this dish and it was a success - the only thing I will change in the future is to use different lentils, as those disintegrated a lot and I would prefer more texture in my dish :) Though my self-confessed meat eater Hubby liked it a lot! That was a surprise :)
The recipe comes from a great book by Anjum 'Anjum's New India'.

How to make it...

- 250g Bengal gram (I used plain yellow split lentils), rinsed until the water runs clear
- 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 to 4 green chillies, left whole
- 20 g fresh ginger, peeled and cut into julienne strips
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 3 large tomatoes (I peeled mine)
- 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 3/4 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- handful of fresh coriander, leaves and stalks, chopped
- salt to taste

Place lentils in 1 litre of water, bring to boil, skim the froth from the top. Cover and simmer for about 40 minutes, until lentils are just soft.
Meanwhile heat oil in a small non-stick pan. Add cumin seeds and cook till they release their aroma (around 30 seconds). Add onion, chillies and ginger and cook until golden. Using the blender puree tomatoes, garlic, powdered spices, onions from the pan and 100 ml water. Cook the mixture on moderate heat fro 15-20 minutes until the masala releases its oil.
Stir into the cooked lentils. Add more water if necessary. Bring to the boil, taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir in the fresh coriander and serve hot.