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Dhal Top Tips

Dhal Top Tips

Lentils or Dhals are a staple in Indian cuisine and are an integral part of the daily diet. We have our Tarka Dhal, Sambhar and Gujarati Dhal that combine traditional ingredients with easy instructions, so you can enjoy this staple at home.

Here are a few tips for making your dhal...

  • Always add salt once lentils are cooked otherwise they will take much longer to soften.
  • Don’t be tempted to peek in the pan! Always keep the lid on for the entire cooking time.
  • Mashing the lentils once cooked will give your dhal a smooth, silky texture; this is all about personal taste.
  • Tinned tomatoes can be added to the lentils once cooked for a richer dhal with more body. This is a good idea if the dhal is to be eaten on its own; a plain dhal works better with other dishes.
  • Adding vegetables like carrots and pepper to your lentils while they are cooking can give your finished dhal a more robust texture if mashed coarsely
  • Try adding half a lemon to your lentils while they are cooking. This will give the finished dish a fresh tangy finish.
  • Dhals love garnishes like fresh herbs, fresh lemon, fresh tomatoes, finely sliced onions, or even cream.

Tarka Tips For Delightful Dhal

'Tarka' translates to 'tempering'. It is a method widely used in Indian cuisine, in which whole or ground spices are heated in hot oil or ghee and the mixture is added to a dish. Hot fat has an amazing ability to extract and retain the essence, aroma and flavour of spices and herbs and then carry this essence with it when it is added to a dish.

Here are a few things to remember when using this technique.

  • Always use neutral oil like sunflower, vegetable or coconut oil. These perform much better at high temperatures which helps to impart the flavours.

  • Make sure your oil is nice and hot before adding spices, then turn to a medium heat once they are in the pan.

  • If you are adding fresh ingredients make sure they go in after the spices have been fried.

  • The other thing to remember is always to try and do it just before serving (if it is a final Tarka), as the flavours will be much stronger.

  • A Tarka will splutter a lot when it is added to cooked lentils, so make sure you have a lid nearby to cover it quickly. This will also retain the aromas and flavours.