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!
1cup (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
To cook the tadka
3-4tbspghee/butter/oilor a blend og ghee/butter & oil
1small onion (90g)finely diced
1-2green chilliesor you can use 1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/2tspsaltor according to taste
1/2tspmango powder/amchuroptional Amchur/Mango Powder or Lime/Lemon juice
Handful fresh corianderroughly chopped
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.
The inspiration for this week’s LIVE Spice Club “isolation cookery lesson” came from my next door neighbour. We’ve had some pretty glorious weather in the UK this week so I decided it would be a good idea to finally cut the grass. It was long overdue (I am not a big fan of gardening). When I got out in my garden I was greeted by my favourite smell of Summer….the BBQ next door.
I decided I needed to eat something grilled and whilst cutting the grass I mentally raided the fridge to figure out what I could have. My search engine of a brain decided on Paneer Tikka Kebabs. I do impress myself with my own suggestions at times.
Soft & juicy paneer, spicy peppers and onions with a crispy charred skin. Paneer Tikka is delicious. The best thing about this recipe is once you have the marinade down you can sub out the paneer to make anything you like. Prawns, chicken and veggies like mushrooms & courgettes all work really well.
I’m assuming you don’t have a tandoor at home (if you do – I’m totes jealous). If you don’t…you can easily emulate the taste of the Tandoor by cooking them on the BBQ, in a hot oven or even, as I did, on my griddle pan on the hob. 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!
225gpaneercut into 3 cms chunky pieces (you should be able to get about 16 pieces this size out of 1 x 225g pack. I cut 8 pieces super thick pieces which I cut into 16 thinner pieces)
2bell peppersgreen or red, cut into 3ms chunky pieces; you need 16 pieces
1large onionwhite or red, cut into 3 cms chunky pieces; you need 16 pieces
1or 2 green chilliesfinely chopped, or use chilli powder
Juice of1 lime
1/2tspdouble concentrate tomato pureeoptional
2tspgram flouror you can use plain flour
1 1/2 tspsaltor according to taste
1/4 tspcumin powderoptional
1x black cardamom ground into a powder, optional
3 good pinchessun dried fenugreek leaves/kasuri methi, ground into a powderoptional
Pickled Lime Onion Salad to accompany! For that you will need:
1red onionvery thinly sliced
3-4stems fresh coriander, chopped (optional)
Handfulofpomegranate seeds, optional
You will also need:
1x griddle pan or a non stick chapati/crepe pan. You can also cook these in your grill or on your bbq if you like!
Bamboo or Metal Skewers
Oil and butter/ghee for cooking
To make the pickled red onion salad, add all of the salad ingredients to a small bowl and leave aside to pickle.
To prepare the Paneer Tikka, place all of the "paneer marination" ingredients in a large bowl. Using your hand, carefully mix everything together. Keep mixing until every single piece of paneer, pepper and onion is well coated in the marination. The longer you can leave this marination on, the better (overnight is ideal!).
If you are using a griddle pan or chapati pan – place it on the hob. Brush 3-4 tbsp oil brushed along its surface and allow to pre-heat on a low temperature. If you are cooking in the oven, pre heat at 220c and line a baking tray with foil, greased with a little oil.
Skewer on the paneer, pepper and onion pieces. You can use any combination you like – I aimed for 4 pieces of each ingredient per skewer!
Once each of your skewers are ready, increase the heat of your pan to medium/high. Once hot, place the skewers on the pan along with 1-2 tsp of ghee/butter. Cook for a couple of minutes on each side and then turn. I like to use brush them with a little oil or ghee when they are half way cooked but this is optional. The paneer tikka skewers should be completely cooked and have a nice char all over.
If you are cooking them in the oven, cook the skewers at 220c for approx 10-12 minutes, flipping them over half way through – I like to use brush them with a little oil or ghee at this point but this is optional! If you would like them to get nice and crispy and charred, switch to the grill setting at the end and grill a further 2-3 minutes.
Remove from the pan and serve with the pickled lime onion salad or wrap in your favourite Indian flatbread with some yoghurt drizzled over. Enjoy!
If you are cooking the skewers in an oven and are using wooden skewers, pre soak them in water ahead of time.
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!
500gskinned boneless chicken thighscut into small pieces
2tbspyoghurtPlain/Greek works (a full fat type is preferred)
3/4 tspgaram masala
For the masala:
5-7tbspoil or ghee,or a combination of both
3green cardamom podsoptional
2medium onions (approx 175g)very finely diced
1tspsalt or according to taste
5tbsptomato passata/blitzed plum tomatoes
1/2tspdouble concentrate tomato puree,optional
1-2chilliesfinely chopped, (or you can use 1/4 -1/2 tsp chilli powder)
1 1/2tspcoriander powder
2tspsun dried fenugreek leaves/kasuri methi,ground into a powder, optional
Handful fresh coriander with stemsfinely 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!
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)