Literally meaning ‘my kitchen’, Meri Rasoi is an Indian cookery school run by food writer and cookery teacher Nidhi Verma. Having grown up in India, Nidhi Verma left a career in marketing to follow her passion for food by running cookery classes and publishing recipes on her website.
Aiming to demystify Indian food with clear, detailed step-by-step recipes, Nidhi teaches from her home in South West London, with regular classes including ‘Classic Indian Home Cookery’ (sharing family recipes handed through generations) and ‘Simply Vegetarian’. The chef has shared a simple recipe for Punjabi Tadka Dal: quick to make at home, using two lentils rich in protein and minerals such as magnesium and zinc.
“This recipe is a typical homemade Punjabi style Tadka Dal that is perfect for this cold weather. There are many different lentil combinations that are used to make Tadka Dal but this one is an everyday recipe as these lentils cook really fast even without soaking as compared to some of the others and are also very easily digested. ‘Tadka’ also known as ‘tempering’ is actually a cooking technique where whole/powdered spices sometimes along with onions, tomatoes, garlic are fried in oil to enhance their flavours before being added to the dish. ‘Tadka’ in Hindi also means the crackling of spices as they make that noise in hot oil. Across different regions in India the widely used varieties of lentils mostly remain the same but it’s the ingredients of the tadka that give every lentil a new dimension.”
Yellow Moong Dal, 150g
Masoor Dal, 75g
Onion, 1 medium, finely chopped
Green chilli, 1 medium heat, finely chopped
Garlic, 2 large cloves, finely chopped
Tomatoes, 1 large, finely chopped
Water, 1 litre
Fresh Coriander, 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Turmeric, 1 tsp
Cumin seeds, 1 tsp
Red chilli powder, ¼ tsp
Salt, to taste
Vegetable oil/Ghee, 3 tbsp
Wash the lentils in a few changes of cold water. Cook the lentils in a pressure cooker or a pan with a lid with 1 litre of water, turmeric powder and salt for about 10 -15 minutes or until soft.
While the lentils are cooking prepare the onion, tomatoes and garlic.
Once lentils are cooked, remove from hob and check the consistency of dal. If it’s too thick you can add hot water at this stage. Set aside.
For the ‘Tadka’ or tempering, take a small pan and heat oil on medium heat. Add cumin seeds to oil and when they start to turn brown, add green chili and onions and cook until light golden.
Then add chopped garlic and fry for a few minutes. Add chopped tomato and cook until soft. When oil starts leaving corner add red chilli powder. Mix well.
Add this tempering to the dal, mix well to blend the flavours and garnish with fresh coriander.
Tip: Washing the lentils in a couple of changes of water is important but don’t wash too many times as important nutrients maybe lost.
Meri Rasoi cookery classes run on Saturday mornings in Raynes Park, South West London from 10am – 1pm. Classes cost £75 per person and include a complimentary apron, recipe sheets and all ingredients. Classes are for a maximum of eight people. Further information can be found here.