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This dish combines two classic Indian recipes—dal, or lentil stew, and tarka, a mixture of spices and/or aromatics that have been bloomed in hot oil. We use red lentils that cook quickly and readily break down to a coarse but velvety puree, then finish them with a heady blend of mustard, cumin, alliums and fresh chilies sizzled in coconut oil. You can lightly crush the mustard and cumin seeds for the tarka all at once using a mortar and pestle or the bottom of a skillet. Serve the lentils with basmati rice or warmed naan, and if you like, with cilantro sprigs, lemon wedges or plain yogurt on the side.
tablespoons refined coconut oil, divided
medium garlic cloves, chopped, divided
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