Dal Tarka | Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street

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Hot butter and whole spices transform India’s simple lentil stew

Dal Tarka

Appears in March-April 2020

1¼ hours (20 minutes active)

Dal Tarka

Dal tarka, or simmered lentils finished with spice-infused butter, is a ubiquitous Indian dish, though some versions are more elaborate than others. Different varieties of lentils can be used to make dal, but we opted for split yellow lentils (toor dal) to recreate the dal tarka we had in Mumbai. (Note: Yellow lentils and yellow split peas are not the same.) If you’re able to find ghee, a type of clarified butter, we highly recommend using it to make the tarka because its full, round, slightly nutty flavor lends depth to the dish. If ghee is not available, salted butter works well.

4

Servings

Tip

Don’t forget to stir the lentils more frequently as they begin to thicken, and make sure to scrape along the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking or scorching. Also, don’t make the tarka, or infused butter, in advance; the flavor compounds are volatile and dissipate as the mixture cools. It’s best to make the tarka only after the lentils have finished cooking.

1¼ hours (20 minutes active)

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