Lentils: Tarka Dal
I made a lentil dinner for my kids and lived to tell about it. Barely.
I love Indian food and rarely make it at home. It seems so – complicated – for a novice like me. My husband and I consider it a treat when we go to an Indian restaurant. And when we treat ourselves, we leave the kids at home.
But tonight I went beyond my hesitations – past the “it’s too complicated”, and past the nagging feeling my kids were going to hold it against me. Tonight I made Tarka Dal.
Tarka Dal (or spiced butter lentils) is an Indian dish that can be made with red lentils (as opposed to typical brown lentils). No need to pre-soak lentils since they are quick cooking. Save this dish for when you have more time since there are several spices involved. But despite the spice variety, this is a simple dish. Butter, garlic, onions, spices, and lentils. This lentil recipe is easily made vegan – just use olive oil instead of butter.
How did the family react to Tarka Dal?
- Husband thought it was “very good, very flavorful”
- Son said “It’s yummy” (This was after he tried it. At first he was majorly upset.)
- Daughter sobbed. “Why are you FORCING me to eat this?” But to her credit: she finished what was served to her.
- I thought it was delicious – creamy, spicy. A welcome change of dinnertime pace. Minus the tears.
(In our defense, we never force feed the kids. They can eat dinner or walk-away. But they know there’s no such thing as “alternative dinner”. We’ve been taken up on the “walk-away” offer in the past. But rarely.)
You can get the recipe How to Make Tarka Dal from Video Jug. Be sure to watch the short video so you can learn how to prepare and cook. Scroll below the video to get a printable recipe.
- In attempt to make this more palatable to children, I cut down on the spices.
- Used 1 clove of garlic instead of 2
- Cut onion in larger slices so I could easily pick them out of kids’ servings
- omitted chili pepper
- omitted coriander leaves
- omitted asafoetida (I struck out trying to find it locally)
- added a small dash of garam masala (instead of 0.25 of teaspoon)
- Here are some U.S. ingredient conversions for this lentils recipe:
- 10 2/3 oz. red dal = about 1 1/2 cups (1.5 cups) red dal
- 850 ml water = little less than 3 3/4 cups (3.75 cups) water
- I bought frozen Naan bread in the frozen food section. Naan is an Indian flat bread.
- I made Cucumber Raita for a dip (or dal topping).
- Even though lentils are not beans (they’re legumes), they’re considered “close enough” for Striving Bean.
What do you think? Have you ever tried a dish like this for your children? How did they react?