Move Over Butter Chicken…

…I have a new love now! And it’s name is Dal Tadka.

Butter ChickenI fell in love with Indian food not long after I fell in love with my husband 25 years ago. One of our favourites over the years has been butter chicken with basmati rice and naan bread. Well, now that I am no longer eating meat, the butter chicken is out. However, that has just given me a new avenue of Indian food to not only explore but also to fall in love with.

And it all has to do with the wonderfully humble and oh-so-delicious lentil.

Dal TadkaI wrote a blog post about month ago waxing poetic about My New BFF (also known as my slow cooker). I have had amazing success with yummy vegan creations and my latest favourite is Dal Tadka which just-so-happens to be bubbling away in my Crock Pot as I write.

As with all my recipes, I have tried this one a few times before sharing, and have made some tweaks to the recipe. I have pulled this recipe from about six or so that I liked and have combined the aspects I find appealing. The thing I love about this recipe, which I had never done before, is the tempering process; heating coconut oil to a very high heat and sautéing garlic, chile, and spices to make a delicious and fragrant finish toward the end of the cooking time.

The first time I tried this recipe I felt it was lacking in the creaminess I was looking for so I stirred in a can of full-fat coconut milk and the result was a creamy, yummy and delicious lentil stew.

Here’s the recipe. I double it so I can eat it for days. This version is the single recipe.

Enjoy! 🙂

Dal Tadka (Tempered Lentils)


1½ cups yellow split lentils or toor lentils

4C spring Water

½ a medium onion, finely chopped

1 large or 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
(I used 1 28oz tin organic diced tomatoes)

4 cloves or 2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp salt

Juice of half lemon

Tempering ingredients:

2 tablespoons coconut oil

½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds

1 clove or ½ teaspoon minced garlic

1 whole Serrano pepper

½ teaspoon cumin powder

½ teaspoon coriander powder

¼ teaspoon chili powder

Finishing Touches:

¼ cup cilantro, chopped

1 can organic coconut milk (full fat)

Wash the lentils and add the 4 cups of water to them in a slow cooker insert. Add the onion, tomatoes, garlic, turmeric powder and salt to the lentils. Cover and let it cook on low for 5 hours. Check if the lentils are almost done; you will feel a slight bite to them.

Have all the tempering ingredients ready. Heat coconut oil in a pan on a stovetop till it shimmers (should be hot). Turn off the heat. To this hot oil, add the cumin seeds, garlic, Serrano pepper and dry spices. Everything should sizzle in the pan. (Watch out for splattering spices during this process.)

Stir this tempering into the hot dal in the slow cooker. Add cilantro leaves and the can of coconut milk. Turn the slow cooker to high and let the dal cook for another hour, which allows the flavors to blend.

Serve over hot basmati rice.

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