Recipe by Anjum Anand
A classic North Indian lentil dish, this can be dramatic looking, as the yellow lentils stand out from the smaller black pulses. Most importantly, it is luscious and delicious. Once the lentils soften, the more you stir them the creamier they become. Lentils and butter go really well together, so I do recommend you add a little butter at the end before serving. This is great with rice or Indian breads.
Bengal tiger lentil curry
Blend the 10g chunk of ginger and the garlic with a little water until smooth. Place both types of lentils in a bowl and wash in several changes of water, until the water runs clear. Now tip them into a large pot, cover with 7.5cm of water and bring to the boil. Skim any scum from the surface. Add the turmeric and some salt. Cook, partially covered, giving the pan an occasional stir, until the lentils have softened and are starting to look homogenous with the water. Stir occasionally at the start and more often as they become tender.
After about 40 minutes, start to make the tarka, but remember to keep giving the lentils a stir. Heat the oil or ghee in a small non-stick saucepan. Add the cumin seeds and, once they sizzle and darken, add the onion and cook until colouring at the edges. Add the ginger and garlic paste and cook until the extra moisture has evaporated and the garlic is starting to colour. Add the tomatoes and remaining spices and cook down for 10–15 minutes, until the masala releases oil.
Pour the tarka into the lentils with the julienned ginger, adding water from the kettle if it seems too thick. Make sure the whole thing looks like a lovely unctuous mass (if not, cook a little longer, adding water if necessary) then taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir in the coriander and butter, if using, and serve.