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Nadiya Hussain’s Brown Daal

As seen on her BBC2 series Simple Spices, this simple and comforting brown daal recipe from Nadiya Hussain is topped with a fragrant garlic and chilli tarka.

From the book


Daal, otherwise known as lentils, cooked gently for sustenance and comfort, is an absolute staple in our home and one of the first dishes I learnt to cook. There are so many variations, but I am sharing with you my fastest, yet still delicious, lentils.

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For the daal:
2 x 400g tins brown lentils
1 ltr cold water
100g hot lime pickle
1 tsp salt
3 bay leaves
1 tsp ground turmeric
For the tarka:
100g unsalted butter
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 onion, sliced
6 large dried chillies
2 tsp ground cumin
To serve:
Large handful of finely chopped fresh coriander


For the daal, start by having a large stock pot or dish at the ready.

Drain the brown lentils and rinse through a colander till the water runs clear and there are no bubbles or foam from the brining liquid in the tin.

Put the lentils in the pan along with the cold water, the hot lime pickle, salt, bay leaves and turmeric. Mix through and pop onto the hob to heat.

Bring to the boil and then leave to simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes till the mixture has thickened. Make sure to stir occasionally, adjusting the heat as needed.

Now for the tarka. Put a frying pan over a high heat and put in the unsalted butter. Gently melt the butter till liquid. Over a medium heat, add the thinly sliced garlic and fry till golden.

Add the onion and chillies and cook till golden brown and the chillies have plumped up in the heat of the butter and are crispy-looking.

Take the tarka off the heat and add the ground cumin. Mix in well and toss the whole mixture into the lentils – you should get a sizzle as it drops in.

Mix well and serve with chopped fresh coriander

+ For when you run out of onions or need a quick fix, stock up on crispy fried onions. Rehydrated they work well in cooking and they are also great as a crispy topping for any dish or salad.

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From the book: Nadiya’s Simple Spices

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