Berry Dal

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  • This dal uses tadka (pronounced ‘tur-ka') - a magical mix of spices sizzled in hot oil - to infuse the dish with flavour

    This dal uses tadka (pronounced ‘tur-ka’) – a magical mix of spices sizzled in hot oil – to infuse the dish with flavour.

    It’s served thick, a consistency created by adding a little hot water at a time and only when the lentils dry up and start spluttering on to the kitchen tiles. Serves 4.

    125g (4½oz) huskless moong (split yellow) lentils
    ¼ tsp turmeric powder
    1 tsp ghee
    1 pinch of asafoetida
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1 dried long red chilli
    ¼ tsp chilli powder

    1. Place the lentils in a sieve and rinse thoroughly under a cold tap until the water runs clear. Put them in a medium pan and cover with twice as much cold water as lentils. Add the turmeric and boil gently on a medium heat, keeping alert for the first couple of minutes to make sure the pan doesn’t boil over.

    2. As it boils, the dal will produce scum, which you need to skim off the
surface. Every time the lentils begin to dry out, add a little bit more hot
water. The consistency of this dal should be thick, like soup from a carton.

    3. When the lentils start integrating with the water in the pan (which will 
take about 20 minutes) you can make the tadka. Heat the ghee in a small
frying pan. When it begins to bubble, add the asafoetida. This stuff smells 
disgusting – you have been warned – but tastes amazing! Then add the 
cumin seeds, the chilli pepper and the chilli powder. Let it all sizzle for
a few seconds and then pour the tadka over the dal.

    4. Heat the dal for another minute as you mix in the tadka. Add salt
to taste, and voilà, the Berry Dal is ready. This is best eaten with rotis 
dunked in it.

    Miss Masala by Malika Basu is published by Collins, priced £14.99. 

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