Pic of Tarka dal with spring greens

Tarka dal with spring greens

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Vegetarian mains

Tarka dal with spring greens

Main Serves 2 1h
A quick dal with added greens - great for a midweek supper. If you have more time, you could add a little more water and cook the mung for longer so they mash down and turn really creamy.



  • 125g yellow mung dal (or use red lentils), rinsed well
  • oil for frying, e.g. vegetable or sunflower
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2-3cm fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 200g spring greens, rib stalks cut out
  • small handful fresh coriander leaves
  • lemon juice to taste

for the tarka

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, very finely sliced
  • ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds


Prep time: 20 min
Cooking time: 40 min


  • Step 1

    Put the mung in a large heatproof bowl, pour over 600ml boiling water and leave to soak.
  • Step 2

    Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a large heavy-based saucepan and fry the onion gently for 10 minutes, until soft and translucent, then add the garlic, ginger, turmeric and chilli. Cook for another couple of minutes.
  • Step 3

    Skim any scum from the top of the mung, then add them and the soaking liquid to the onion.
  • Step 4

    Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes, until the mung are cooked through and soft.
  • Step 5

    You can mash them lightly if you like, for a creamier texture.
  • Step 6

    While the mung are cooking, boil the spring greens for 6-8 minutes until tender.
  • Step 7

    Drain and refresh in very cold water, then drain and squeeze out any liquid. Finely shred the leaves.

To make the tarka

  • Step 1

    gently heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds, garlic, chilli and cumin. Fry, stirring constantly, for a minute or two, until the mustard seeds pop.
  • Step 2

    While the tarka is heating up, stir the spring greens into the mung to warm through, then add the coriander and lemon juice, and serve, drizzled with the tarka.