Dhal on its own is quite bland I find and so I really like this recipe which produces an oily, spicy, garlicky mess to throw on top of the dhal to give it a bit of a kick. This does produce quite a lot so you might wish to reduce the amounts.
450g red lentils (masoor dhal)
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and thinly sliced
1.5 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground black pepper
Salt to taste
1 litre water
4 fresh green chillies topped and tailed (do not split)
1 tbsp sesame seed oil
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp mustard seed (optional)
8 curry leaves (optional)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 long dry red chillies
1 tsp lovage (ajwan) seed
Wash and sift the dhal (lentils) thoroughly to remove any husks. Drain well.
Heat ghee or oil in a heavy saucepan pan and fry onion and garlic gently over lowish heat until softened. Add turmeric, salt, pepper and the dhal. Stir gently to coat all dhal
Add water and chillies. Boil, covered, for 20 minutes until lentils are cooked and resemble a medium custard in consistency. You may need to add extra water to maintain consistency. Do not let them dry out.
When cooked to your liking set aside in a serving dish in a warm place, preferably with a cover.
To make the tarka, heat the oils until they smoke and throw in the mustard and reduce heat a bit.
When mustard crackles add chillies and fry for 30 seconds, constantly turning. Mind your eyes as the fumes will be pungent.
Add rest of tarka ingredients except lovage and keep energetically stir frying until garlic is blackening or chillies are blackening whichever is first.
Add lovage seeds, remove from heat and keep stirring for 10 seconds.
Pour mixture over lentils and cover. Serve hot.