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Recipe: Healthy vegetarian & vegan recipe: Tarka Daal 

Recipe: Healthy vegetarian & vegan recipe: Tarka Daal 

Probably the first thing you DON’T expect to see when the header says vegetarian and vegan recipe. MEAT! But this really is a recipe for my most favourite meal- Daal which I pair with different types of meat or simply on its own with boiled rice and IT IS, HANDS DOWN, THE BEST MEAL EVER!

I can go meat free and eat daal for 2 days in a row. My friend/flatmate will vouch for this! 😂

I don’t measure my ingredients. I always use my own estimation and cook it as per my own taste.


  • Red lentils
  • 2-3 sliced garlic cloves
  • Turmeric powder
  • Coriander powder
  • Garam Masala powder
  • Chilli powder or small dried red chillies
  • Salt to taste

For Tarka/ garnish: (optional, to keep it super healthy but I’m not about this life- sorry!)

  • Chaat masala (optional)
  • Ahmed’s Achaar (mixed vegetable bottled pickle you can buy from Asian stores, I used the oil right at the end as a garnish)
  • Sliced onions
  • Chopped green chillies
  • Cumic seeds
  • Bay leaves
  • Sliced garlic

Cover the red lentils portion in double the amount of water on low heat. Add half/ 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, sliced garlic cloves and either chilli powder (up to you how much, just don’t shove a full teaspoon!) or a few dried red chillies. Stir gently and leave on a low heat.

Let the red lentils come to a boil.

Tip: I read this tip some where and it actually works for me. To stop the boiling water from overflowing the pot, place a wooden spoon across the top. The water will not overflow. Has worked for me time and again! 😁👌🏼

Once the red lentils are mushy, at this point I use a hand blender to blend the lentils to a smooth texture. Don’t overdo it though. (I like my red lentil almost super smooth, if you don’t have a hand blender don’t worry about it)

Have you noticed we haven’t added any oil? Yep 😌 Although it will change at the end haha

Now you start adding the spices. Depending on the amount of red lentils, I’d start with half a teaspoon of coriander powder, garam masala and salt. Have a taste and then add in more of each if you want. Just don’t go in heavy with the spices straight away- build on it. Give it a mix and let the lentils simmer over low heat.

At this point I start preparing the Tarka (garnish) for the lentils. In my opinion, the tarka is the real game changer to this dish. You can either let the lentils cook a little bit more, sprinkle chaat masala on top and you’re good to go!


You can make your lentils even more delicious and it give the oomph that will make it a winner!

You can do two types of Tarkas

  1. Fried garlic based: (my mum prefers this one!)

In a frying pan,  fry the sliced garlic in olive oil till they’re golden brown with a couple of bay leaves. Amount of oil is up to you- I add in 2-3 tablespoons. Careful you don’t burn them and pour the oil, garlic and everything in that pan on top of the lentils. You will hear a sizzle as soon as the oil will touch the surface of those lentils. The aroma is divine.

2.  Fried onion based:

Fry sliced onions on medium heat. Amount of oil is up to you- I add in 2-3 tablespoons. You don’t want the onions golden, you want them brown. Brown onions develop a sweet taste which give a lovely flavour to the lentils. Be patient with the onions and don’t try to fry them too quickly on a high heat. There’s a very small difference between fried and burnt onions. You don’t want the latter.

Once the onions are almost brown, add in the cumin seeds, bay leaves and full green chillies (make small cuts on green chillies but careful of them sputtering in the hot oil, protect your eyes!)

Pour this mixture on top of the lentils and you will hear a sizzle. Again- divine aroma!! Give the lentils a stir and let them come to a boil- you will see the oil separate around the edges.

The very last step is to sprinkle chaat masala and drizzle the oil that is in the Ahmed’s Achaar jar.

I make a big portion which I also freeze and can eat it whenever I’m craving lentils. I make them at least once or twice a week. They are great for lunch and even post gym. Lentils are full of protein and really healthy!

How’s this for a Monday morning inspiration?  😁🙌🏼

Drool on this image below and I’ll see you soon in my next post. Till then head over to my Instagram account and check out where and what I’ve been feasting on 😋

Remember: healthy food does NOT have to be boring and tasteless.


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