Tarka Daal


Relive the Royal Mahal experience from home


There is an old wives tale that a royal chef created this lentil-based recipe for his wife, a true curry fit for Royalty.. If there is one dish in which all Indians share a common connection and relation to, then it would be the Tarka Daal. 


Wanting to achieve culinary success in the comfort of your own home? Well, you can relive the Royal Mahal experience with our recipe series where we share with you how to make an Indian feast!


What is Tarka Daal?


History yields some very interesting facts about daal. Lentil dishes have been known to Indians since very early times. Archaeological evidence indicates that the Indian daal made its first appearance in the Indus Valley Civilisation, where lentils of all kinds were a staple food. Usually, Indians refer to Daal as comfort food and used to be served as a key part to a celebratory meal. The daal dish is a widely respected meal and was a status symbol of India and then Pakistan. 


The daal type of dish are not only delicious and are famous worldwide. Lentils have been known to Indians for a very long time and for all the right reasons. Masoor, tur, urad, moong and chana: you name it and Indians have had it!


Tarka Daal is based on lentils cooked with onions, garlic, tomatoes and spices. With a taste formulated around whole cooked split chickpeas, daal has an especially earthy, creamy and wholesome taste. Spices can be added in to enhance flavour but this is usually a milder dish. RM would usually recommend serving Tarka Daal as a side dish alongside a curry. And don’t forget your Naan bread, we recommend our buttered Garlic Naan! 


Here are the secret RM ingredients below:




500g x Red Lentils

100g x Butter

1 x Medium Onion

1.5 tsp x Salt

150ml x Sunflower Oil

1 tbsp x Chilli Powder

1 tbsp x Turmeric Powder 1 tbsp x Crushed Garlic

1 tbsp x Whole Zeera

1.5 Litres x Water


  1. Wash the lentils. Use one litre of water and rinse through a sieve
  2. Add 1.5 litres of water to a pot on full flame
  3. Add the pre-washed lentils
  4. Add the pre-measured Salt, Chilli and Turmeric powder to the pot
  5. Cook for around 20/30 mins, occasionally stirring
  6. Once the water has a paste-like consistency, your daal is almost ready
  7. Check spice levels, do you need any more spices? especially check salt levels and adjust accordingly
  8. Separately, chop up 1 medium onion and fry until golden brown
  9. Add golden brown onions to your daal



  1. Put oil in a pan on a full flame
  2. Add Garlic crushed (1 tbsp)
  3. Add Whole Zeera (1tbsp)
  4. Mix for 2/3 minutes until brown
  5. Mix the Tarka into the Daal
  6. Add 100g of butter One final mix to melt the butter
  7. Your Royal Mahal Tarka Daal is now ready, add to a bowl and garnish with coriander and fried brown onions 


Serves 4 people.