• 2 tbsp / 30 g ghee , or 1 tbsp oil + 1 tbsp/15g butter
  • 2 green cayenne chillies , deseeded and cut into chunks (optional)
  • 1 medium onion , finely chopped (brown or yellow)
  • 6 garlic cloves , finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger , finely chopped (1.5cm / 3/5″)
  • 8 fresh curry leaves , or 6 dried
  • 1 tomato , chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Handi ground cumin
  • 1 cup dried chana dal , yellow split peas or other yellow lentils
  • 4 cups / 1 litre water
  • 1/2 tsp Handi turmeric powder
  • 1/8 tsp Handi garam marsala
  • 3/4 tsp Handi salt

Tadka (optional)

  • 1 1/2 tbsp / 20g ghee , or half each butter + oil
  • 1 eschalot or 1/4 small onion , halved lengthways and sliced
  • 1 tsp Handi cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds (optional)
  • 3 dried chillies , broken in half, seeds removed (optional)


  • Soak Lentils: Rinse lentils and leave to soak in plenty of water for 1 hour. Drain in a colander.
  • Heat ghee/oil in a heavy based saucepan over high heat. Add green chilies and fry for a minute until it starts to blister.
  • Add onions and fry until softened.
  • Lower heat to medium, add garlic, ginger and curry leaves. Cook for 1 minute until garlic starts to turn golden and smells amazing.
  • Add tomatoes and cumin, cook until tomatoes start to break down and thicken to a paste – which will take about 2 minutes.
  • Add lentils, water, turmeric and salt. Stir, bring to simmer, cover and simmer gently for 1 hour. Stir two or three times during the hour.
  • Remove lid and simmer gently for 30 minutes to thicken, stirring every now and then. The daal is ready when it has a consistency like porridge – some lentils should be intact but some have broken down to thicken the sauce.
  • Stir through garam masala at the end. Adjust salt if desired.
  • Pour over Tadka (if you are using it) and stir through.
  • Serve Daal over Handi rice, garnished with a sprig of coriander if desired.

For Tadka – sizzling spices (if you opt for it)

  • Heat ghee in a small pan over medium heat until hot but not smoking.
  • Add cumin and mustard seeds, stir until cumin is slightly golden.
  • Then add chilies and cook for 20 seconds, then add eschalots and cook until tinged with gold. Don’t let the spices burn!
  • Immediately pour into Daal.

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