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    Udit Sarkhel's Bangla Tauk Dhal

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    Udit Sarkhel's Bangla Tauk Dhal

    This Bengali dhal has a hint of sourness from the tamarind," says Udit. "I might sometimes add green mango or bitter gourd instead. Bengalis would serve this with rice and fried fish. Alternatively, they might serve it with fried potatoes, cooked with the skin on, and perhaps a mustardy condiment to add spice."

    • Vegetarian
    • Preparation time: 10 minutes
    • Cooking time: 40 minutes
    • Total time: 50 minutes 50 minutes

    Serves: 4


    • 250g red lentils (masoor dhal)
    • Salt
    • ½ tsp sugar
    • 1 tsp ground turmeric
    • 1 tbsp fresh, sieved tamarind, or to taste
    • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 1 small onion, sliced
    • Fresh coriander, chopped, to garnish


    1. Put the lentils in a sieve and rinse under cold, running water. Put 750ml water in a fairly deep saucepan and bring to the boil.
    2. When it has boiled, add the lentils. Return to the boil, skimming off any froth. After skimming, add a little salt, the sugar and turmeric. Cook over a medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes.
    3. Add the tamarind, stir well, and cook for 10 minutes or so until the lentils are soft, stirring regularly so they don't stick. When soft, give the lentils a whisk with a balloon whisk to break them up. The consistency shouldn't be runny, but porridgey, like a thick soup. Keep warm on a very low heat while you prepare the tempering.
    4. Heat the oil on a medium-high heat in a small pan. Add the cumin and fry till brown (this gives the seeds a nutty, musky flavour). Add the onions, and fry till lightly browned; 5-8 minutes. When the onions are browned, pour the tempering mixture over the dhal and cover the pan. Turn off the heat, leave for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the tempering. Serve straight away, sprinkled with fresh coriander, with freshly cooked rice.
    5. There are lots of ways to vary this mild dhal. Add chopped fresh tomatoes after whisking the lentils or throw in fresh chilli at the end (there's no point boiling away the aromatic flavour). Add mustard seeds to the tempering for a south Indian style dhal or dried red chillies for a smoky heat.

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