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Tarka Dal & Naan Bread – Indian Favourites

This weekend I was in Spitalfields & Shoreditch, London E1  with its vibrant atmosphere combining great food & street art. Brick Lane, famous for its curry mile is now a cornucopia of food with everything from Thai, French, Argentinian, Scandinavian, artisan chocolates & coffee, a cereal cafe, as well as the traditional Bangladeshi & Indian food &  Beigal Bake. I was inspired by #NationalVegetarianWeek and #RealBreadWeek to share two of my favourite Indian dishes.

Ingredients for Tarka Dal  Serves 4

Tarka Dal Ingredients

Tarka Dal Ingredients

  • 200g (7 oz) chana dal (yellow split peas)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 green chillies, 2 chopped, 2 whole
  • 3 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cm (3/4 inch) fresh ginger, peeled & sliced
  • large bunch fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
    Shallots & Spices Cooking

    Onions & Spices Cooking


  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground sea salt


  • Soak the dal in a bowl of cold water for 1 hour, drain & rinse several times in cold water
  • Put the dal in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil, skimming any scum  that appears on the surface
  • Add the chopped tomatoes & chillies, garlic, ginger, turmeric, pinch of sea salt
  • Turn the heat down to low, cook for about 1 to 1.5 hours until soft, stirring occasionally
  • Add the  2 whole chillies, salt to taste and simmer for a further 10 minutes
  • Dal simmering away

    Dal simmering away

    Heat the oil or ghee on a medium high heat, add the cumin , mustard seeds &  dried chilli and  fry for a few seconds until they pop

  • Add the chopped onions, ground coriander and cook for 5 minutes until soft & golden
  • Stir into the dal and serve topped with the chopped fresh coriander


Ingredients for Naan Bread  Makes 8-10 small Naan

  • 300g ( 10.5 oz) strong white bread flour, plus extra to dust

    Dough after proving

    Dough during proving

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fast action dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) warm water
  • 5 tablespoon natural yoghurt
  •  1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter or ghee, plus some extra to brush
  • 1 teaspoon nigella ( black onion seeds)


  •  Add the yeast, sugar and 2 tablespoons of warm water to a bowl and stir well

    Dough Proved & Ready

    Dough Proved

  • Leave until yeast is activated and starts to froth
  • Add the yoghurt to the yeast mixture
  • Add the flour and salt to a large bowl, make a well in the centre and add the yeast & yoghurt mixture and melted butter or ghee
  • Mix then gradually add the water until a soft sticky dough forms
  • Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about five minutes
  • Don’t worry if initially sticky it will become smoother with kneading
  • Place dough in a large lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, then cover with cling film (saran wrap)
  • Leave dough in a warm draught free place ( I put mine in an unlit oven) to prove for 1 1/2- 2 hours until doubled in size
  • Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and throw down a few times to knock the air out
  • Dough balls ready to roll out

    Dough balls ready to roll out

    Divide into 8 to 10 balls

  • Heat a large frying pan over a high heat for 5 minutes and heat the oven to 150 degrees C (300 F)
  • Flatten the dough ball into a flat circle, slightly thicker around the edge
  • Pick up at one end to stretch into a slight teardrop shape and sprinkle a few nigella seeds  and pat so they stick into the surface
  •  Cook for about 30-40 seconds until the surface starts to bubble then turn over and cook the other side

    Naan Cooking

    Naan Cooking

  • Brush with melted butter or ghee and put in the oven to keep warm

Repeat with the remaining dough balls until you have a pile of naan.

Serve with the tarka dal for an Indian veggie favourite.


Tarka Dahl - ready to eat

Tarka Dahl – ready to eat


Naan bread freshly baked


  1. Rachel Kolsky

    Hello! I just wanted to say that those lovely three green chillis look perfect!! Glad Whitechapel turned up trumps for you!! Hope to see you again before too long. Rachel

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Rachel I really enjoyed your guided walk around such a vibrant area. Shoreditch, Spitalfields & Whitechapel really inspired me to cook another dal with my chillies. I hope you have fun making delicious dishes with your Italian pistachio paste. I look forward to some more walks as you really bring the social history to life with such enthusiasm, passion & humour. Lins


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