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Feel free to experiment with the basic recipe using different spices (e.g., ground coriander, onion seeds), more or less chilli, spinach added at the end, a bit of coconut milk or creamed coconut. You can’t go wrong.


  • 400 g yellow split peas
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric or a thumb-size piece of fresh, grated
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil from Crispy Onions if making
  • 2 onions finely sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • thumb-size piece of ginger grated
  • 2 tsp cumin seed
  • 1 tsp black mustard seed
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • Small bunch fresh coriander chopped
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste


  • 1 tsp asafetida
  • Handful chopped tomatoes

For Crispy Onions (Optional)

  • 2-3 onions 300ml oil


  • Soak split peas 2hrs or overnight, drain and rinse… Or just rinse and add 20-30min to cooking time below. Put in large pan with 1.5L cold water over high heat. Bring to boil, skimming off any scum. Add turmeric, asafetida & tomatoes. Turn down to simmer and cook with a lid partially on (so steam can escape) 50-60min until very soft. Stir occasionally.

While dhal cooks, prepare Crispy Onions (Optional)

  • Heat 300ml oil in large fry pan. Add half onions (finely sliced), cook to dark golden, remove with slotted spoon and drain. Repeat. Save oil if desired.

While dhal cooks, prepare Tarka

  • (Use oil/pan from onions if applicable.) Heat 2 tbsp oil in fry pan over medium. Add onions, cook 15min until soft and golden. Add garlic, ginger, spices. Fry 2-3min to popping.

When dhal and tarka are ready

  • Stir Tarka very well through finished dahl so peas break down and it gets nice and creamy. If is too thick add water, if too thin cook longer uncovered . Stir in salt to taste and most coriander. Serve piled with coriander and onions. Enjoy!