Tarka daal with coconut


A rich tarka daal, full of flavour and aromatic spices. The creamy coconut milk adds a luxurious touch to this special Indian soup.

serves 4

250g red lentils
400 ml coconut milk
330 ml water
1/2 can crushed tomato passata
1 medium onion finely chopped
3 cloves garlic crushed
1 tsp finely grated ginger
1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
1 green chilli chopped finely
1 tbsp garam masala
2 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch of asafoetida
Squeeze of lemon juice
Handful of chopped coriander


1. Wash the lentils in cold water a few times then put into a medium sized saucepan along with the coconut milk and water. Bring this to a boil and then gently simmer for 15 minutes until lentils are tender and mushy. Add more water if needed to cook the lentils.

2. In a separate saucepan heat up the oil on a medium heat. Add the mustard, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick and pinch of asafoetida and cover. Once the seeds start to pop slowly put in the onion, garlic and ginger with the chilli, mix well and let onions cook for a further 3 minutes.

3. Add the tomato passata with salt, turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander powder and garam masala. Mix, then cover and gently simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Now the final stage is to combine the coconut lentil mixture with the tomato base. Pour the lentils into the base and gently simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.

5. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and chopped coriander and it is now ready to serve alongside some jeera rice and fresh naan bread.