With the winter getting ever closer, sometimes you just really need some hot comfort food to warm you up. This can get pretty unhealthy if you always go for big plates of pasta, so here’s a filling, comforting dish for those autumn nights, which is also really healthy. It’s simple to make, and really delicious.
I quite often order Tarka Dal from Indian restaurants or take aways, and it differs every time – so really, you can adapt this dish however you want, using different spices to suit your own taste. You could have it with rice or without, as a main meal or as a side dish, as a lunch or as a dinner. I served mine with garlic naan bread (unfortunately not homemade), and it was perfect for a light dinner.

Tarka Dal
Serves 2
1tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2tsp ground cumin
1/2tsp ground coriander
1/2tsp turmeric
1/2tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp cayenne pepper
1/2tsp cardamom seeds
150g red lentils
750ml water
1tbsp tomato puree
Handful fresh coriander, chopped
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and soften the garlic and onion for 10 minutes. Add the spices and cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
Add the lentils and water. Cover the pan and leave to simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils have broken down.
Add the tomato puree and simmer for 5 more minutes.
Stir through the chopped coriander and serve immediately.