Tadka Dal

I’ve made Tadka Dal hundreds of times and it’s often my “go-to” recipe when my brain is having a moment and can’t decide on what to make for dinner, or if we have ran out of everything and I haven’t got round to doing the big shop (both happen regularly).

I decided to teach how to make this hug in a bowl for this week’s LIVE Spice Club “isolation cookery lesson” and the feedback has been amazing!

Dal is not a seasonal dish. I make it all year round and it’s a staple in most Indian homes. Everyone makes it their own way and this recipe is what I would consider to be my “full fat” version. Sometimes If I’m feeling lazy or if I am incredibly hungry I will omit the onion and make the tadka with just ginger & garlic or even just ginger on its own. Sometimes if I’m in a rush I make these lentils without soaking (perfectly fine to do with red split lentils). My favourite way to eat dal is on top of some steamed basmati rice and I never use a spoon. I always eat it with my hand. Extra satisfaction guaranteed!

If you missed the live cookery class but want to catch up and watch, you can do so by clicking here. Also, if you have any dish suggestions for next week’s live class, comment below or drop me a message on Instagram or Facebook. I would love to hear from you!

Tadka Dal

Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

To cook the lentils:

  • 1 cup (165g) red split lentils aka masoor lentils, rinsed well until the water runs clear. Not essential but ideally allow lentils to soak in a bowl full of water for a couple of hours
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Water

To cook the tadka

  • 3-4 tbsp ghee/butter/oil or a blend og ghee/butter & oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp of asafoetida optional
  • 1 small onion (90g) finely diced
  • 3 cms ginger grated
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 4-5 tbsp tomato passata
  • 1-2 green chillies or you can use 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp mango powder/amchur optional Amchur/Mango Powder or Lime/Lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • Handful fresh coriander roughly chopped

Instructions
 

  • Place the lentils in a pot along with salt and turmeric and 4 cups (approx 1litre) of boiling water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat slightly. Cook lentils on a gentle rolling simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are soft and tender mixing every few minutes. Use a spoon to skim off any foam that forms and discard.
  • The water & lentils should be blended together & creamy in texture once cooked. If the water reduces before the lentils are cooked, you can add a little more.
  • Whilst the lentils are cooking, heat the ghee/oil in a separate pan. Add cumin seeds, and asafoetida. Then add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft. Now add the garlic & ginger. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes until golden in colour. Now stir in the tomato passata and chilli.
  • Reduce the heat. Then add salt, paprika, turmeric and mango powder, Mix well and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until the oil begins to separate from the masala.
  • Once the lentils are cooked, add them to the pan the tadka was cooked in. Mix well and bring to a boil. If you think the dal is too thick you can add a little more water (you may need to adjust seasoning accordingly).
  • Finish with the garam masala and fresh coriander. Taste for salt and chilli adjust accordingly. Remove from heat and serve with rice or your favourite Indian bread.

Punjabi Murgh Masala

I can’t count the number of times I have cooked this dish; yet every time I sit down to eat it, I still get a tiny bit excited. It’s because it never disappoints. It is for that reason that I decided to teach my Punjabi Murgh Masala at my third LIVE COOKERY CLASS this afternoon. I have also decided that it deserves to be flagged under my “Spice Club Staples” recipe collection because once you have nailed how to make the masala part of this recipe, you can actually use it as a base for countless recipes, so tis a great go-to in our current climate.

The masala is also fantastic to cook in bulk, store in a jar, top with a little bit of oil & keep in the fridge. When you come home and fancy a delicious chicken/paneer/mixed veg/fish prawn masala…you know it will be ready in just a matter of minutes.

Sure you can reach for an expensive jar of a pre-made “curry” paste. But why would you when you know the fresh masala you have made from scratch in your own kitchen is (so much) tastier, has no additives/colourings, is more nutritious and not to mention cheaper. Okay my sales pitch is officially over. Now you have to try it for yourselves and let me know your thoughts!

If you missed the live cookery class but want to catch up and watch, you can do so by clicking here. Also, if you have any dish suggestions for next week’s class, comment below or drop me a message on Instagram or Facebook. I would love to hear from you!

Punjabi Murgh Masala (Chicken Curry)

Ingredients
  

For the chicken marinade:

  • 500 g skinned boneless chicken thighs cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt Plain/Greek works (a full fat type is preferred)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp garam masala

For the masala:

  • 5-7 tbsp oil or ghee, or a combination of both
  • 3 bay leaves optional
  • 3 cloves optional
  • 3 green cardamom pods optional
  • 1 black cardamom optional
  • 2 medium onions (approx 175g) very finely diced
  • 1 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 3 garlic cloves grated
  • 2 " ginger grated
  • 5 tbsp tomato passata/blitzed plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp double concentrate tomato puree, optional
  • 1-2 chillies finely chopped, (or you can use 1/4 -1/2 tsp chilli powder)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 heaped tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp sun dried fenugreek leaves/kasuri methi, ground into a powder, optional
  • Handful fresh coriander with stems finely chopped

You will also need:

  • 1 x Foil lined oven tray
  • Jug of water (room temp is fine)
  • Pestle & Mortar if you have one. Don't worry if not!

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat your grill at the maximum temperature setting. Place all "marinade" ingredients into a bowl and mix together. Place the marinated chicken on a foil lined oven tray and spread out. Grill for approximately 10 minutes or until fully cooked (the chicken should be white all the way through and have a slight golden char all over). Remove from grill and keep aside.
  • Heat the oil/ghee in a pan. Using a pestle & mortar, coarsely crush the cloves and cardamoms until coarsely ground. Then add to the oil along with the bay leaves. Immediately after, add the chopped onions along with 1 tsp salt. Cook for 4-5 minutes on medium heat until soft and translucent.
  • Now add the grated garlic and ginger and mix. Continue to cook for a further 3-4 minutes until completely golden brown.
  • At this point, add the tomato passata as well as the puree and green chilli to the pan and stir for a a minute.
  • Now, reduce the heat. Then add the garam masala, coriander powder and paprika and mix well. Cook for a minute. When you see the oil begin to separate from the masala paste at the edges, add the grilled chicken. Add approximately ¼ cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly, place a lid on the pan and allow to simmer for 6-8 minutes.
  • Finish with the ground, dried fenugreek leaves and fresh coriander. Allow to simmer for a further 2-3 minutes.
  • If you like your curry to be even more saucier, you can add a little more water (you may need to adjust the seasoning slightly if you do this)
  • Taste for salt and chilli and adjust accordingly.

Roasted Gosht Palak Lamb Spinach Curry

This slow roasted Lamb Gosht Palak was the star of the show at my recent Mughlai cookery class. Marinated lamb roasted in whole spices and a glorious caramelised rich masala. 3 words = melt in mouth. A dish fit for a Moghul King or Queen ????. When I posted a snap of this on instagram and facebook, I didn’t expect so many requests for the recipe. (I also didn’t realise the pool of green spinach would turn out to be so photogenic). Thankfully this dish tastes as good as it looks so enjoy the recipe. Pop a comment or share a photo of your recreation if you make it!

Roasted Gosht Palak Lamb Spinach Curry

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

For the marinade:

  • 850 g leg of lamb boneless cut into 2” chunks
  • 4 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala

To cook the lamb:

  • 5 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 green cardamoms crushed open
  • 1 black cardamom crushed open
  • 3 cms cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 3 medium onions thinly sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic grated
  • 3 ” ginger grated
  • 1 ½ tsp salt or according to taste
  • 6 tbsp tomato passata
  • 2 green chillies finely chopped
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 250 g fresh spinach

Instructions
 

  • • Place all the ingredients in the “marinade ingredients” list in a bowl. Mix together & cover. Ideally allow the lamb to marinate for 24 hours. If not, overnight is acceptable.
    • Pre-heat oven at 220*C. Heat ghee/oil in a pan. Once hot, add the bay leaves, green and black cardamoms, cinnamon stick and cloves. They should begin to splatter immediately.
    • Now add the onions and cook until translucent-this should take about 4-5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic at this point and cook on a medium heat for a further 10-12 minutes or until they turn fully golden brown.
    • Now add the tomato pasata along with the green chilli. Cook for a further minute. Reduce the heat and then add the salt and all of the dry spice powders and cook for 2 minutes.
    • Now add the marinated lamb to the pan. Cook on a medium/high heat, mixing continuously for 5 minutes or until it begins to seal.
    • Now transfer to an ovenproof pan. Add enough water so the lamb is completely covered and place in oven. After 30 minutes, give the lamb curry a mix and reduce temperature to 180*C and place a lid on top.
    • Bring half a cup of pan of water to the boil. Place the spinach in the pan and as soon as it is wilted (should take about 2 minutes) remove and drain using a sieve. Place in a food processor and blitz into a paste. 
    • Once the lamb has been cooking an hour, add the wilted spinach and then cook for a further 45-60 minutes or until the lamb is tender. (If you ever see that the lamb curry is looking a little dry, you can add some water). 
    • Remove from oven. Taste for salt/chilli and adjust accordingly. Finish with fresh coriander.

Notes

 Feel free to pick out the whole spices before serving.
If you want to slow roast, after the first 30 minutes, drop the temperature to 175c and cook for 3-4 hours (checking on it every 40 minutes or so).