This super healthy, split pea Tarka Dal recipe is a delicious vegetable curry that will appeal to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
In the UK, Indian food is as much of the culture as Chinese or Italian food is in the US. It’s a regular thing that’s ordered in, a favorite for eating out and the shelves in the grocery stores are lined with all different mixes, jars, and packets to make it at home.
This is one of my favorite Indian dishes. It’s kind of like a curry version of split pea soup (although traditionally it is made with lentils). Serve with rice to make it an easy weeknight meal the whole family will love.
Why This Recipe Works
- The combination of oil and butter adds richness to this delicious soup,
- Mild spices make this a great introduction to Indian food.
- This recipe makes a thick filling soup that is perfect as a side dish or main meal.
How to make tarka dal
- Boil the lentils in stock.
- Fry the onion, garlic, and ginger.
- Add pureed tomatoes and dried spices, stir and simmer.
- Combine the stock and lentil mixture with the spice mixture.
- Bring to the boil.
- Serve and enjoy!
Tips & Variations
- Replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock to make this dish suitable for vegetarians.
- Add vegetables to bulk it up for a hearty dish.
- If you like your food spicy add chili flakes for an extra kick
Tarka is the process of frying spices in oil and butter and dal is a lentil or pulse.
Tarka Dal is a healthy dish packed with goodness, it can be made even more healthy by replacing the butter and oil with a low fat cooking spray.
Other Great Soups
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Let’s Make Tarka Dall
- ½ pound /250g yellow dried split peas rinsed until the water runs clear
- 4 cups /1 liter Chicken stock
- ½ cup /120ml of water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons rounded butter
- 1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
- 1 large onion Chopped
- inch ¾ piece fresh ginger peeled & minced
- 3 cloves Garlic Chopped
- 3 tomatoes pureed
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1½ teaspoons ground coriander
- salt & pepper
- A good handful of chopped fresh cilantro/coriander chopped
- Place the peas and stock into a pan, stir well and bring to the boil. Cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer, stirring regularly, for 40-50 minutes, or until the peas are just tender, adding some water as necessary. When the peas have cooked, remove them from the heat and whisk to break them down to your desired consistency. Set aside to cool.
- Heat the oil & butter in a pan over a medium heat add the onion and ginger. Fry for 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Puree the tomatoes in a food processor, add them to the pan and mix them in. Add the remaining spices and the water to the pan and stir well. Simmer over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the oil from the sauce has risen to the surface of the sauce. When finished, puree the sauce in a food processor and add it to the cooked peas & stock mixture and stir well (adding more water if necessary to loosen the mixture). Bring the mixture to the boil and season to taste, with salt and black pepper and chopped cilantro/coriander just before serving. Serve on rice or alone as a soup.