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By Mindy Woods

I have vibrant memories of eating soupy Dahl and roti for breakfast would you believe, as a young child growing up in Malaysia. The very thought of eating this brilliant dish brings a huge smile to my face. What truly makes this dish special is the Tarka, a finishing topping of spice infused hot oil, caramelised onion, crunchy curry leaves, okra and punchy green chili.

+ Ingredients

200 grams Chana Dahl, thoroughly rinsed with water and soaked for 1 hour
1 large red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2cm ginger, finely chopped
2cm fresh turmeric, grated
1 Tsp ground turmeric
2 long green chilies, sliced
Pinch salt
1 bunch coriander, roots and stalks roughly chopped, leaves reserved
2 stalks fresh curry leaves
Splash of vegetable or olive oil
Tbsp olive oil
1 heaped Tsp. each of brown mustard seeds, yellow mustard seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds
2 long green chilies, finely sliced
Pinch salt
8 okra, sliced
1 red birds eye chili, finely sliced
Small handful fresh curry leaves
2 French shallots, thinly sliced

2 stalks fresh curry leaves

+ Method

In a large heavy based saucepan heat vegetable oil and sauté onion, ginger, garlic, curry leaves, fresh turmeric and coriander root until onion is browned. Add tomatoes, green chili, chana dahl and stir through. Cover with vegetable stock, 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a to a simmer, cover and continue to cook until lentils tenderize and begin to break down. Roughly 40 minutes.

Just before serving, heat remaining olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat add shallots, and cook until well browned. Add the spices and cook until aromatic, the seeds will begin to ˜pop and release their beautiful flavour and scent. Stir through remaining ingredients, cook for a further 2-3 minutes or until okra just cooked.

Stir coriander leaf through dahl, divide between serving bowls and garnish with a generous spoonful or two of hot Tarka.

Serve with freshly cooked roti or naan bread.