The Secret Ingredient to Indian Cuisine is...Notting Hill!

Posted on 30th July 2015

Indian cuisine is one of the most diverse and mouth-watering types of food in the world. At Chakra, we love to create aromatic, filling, and delicious dishes for our guests – however, if you can't make it to our restaurant this weekend, no worries, Notting Hill has some of the best shops around to find the ingredients to make our great tasting recipes. In this week's blog we guide you through making Tarka Dahl.

Where to get your ingredients:

  • Spice Shop – Blenheim Crescent
  • Portobello Road and Golborne Road – fruit and vegetables, Mon – Sat (only Thursday mornings)
  • Portobello Road and Golborne Road also have meat, fish, and cheese specialists – (open Friday and Saturdays)
  • Portobello Wholefoods for the lentils for your dahl

Recipe: Tarka Dahl
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 45 mins


  • 250g/9oz red lentils, rinsed until the water runs clear
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3-4 whole green chillies, pricked with a knife
  • 2cm/¾ inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • 3 tomatoes
  • ¾ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¾ tsp garam masala
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • handful chopped fresh coriander leaves


  • Place the lentils and 900ml/1¾ pints of water into a pan, stir well and bring to the boil. Skim off any froth that forms on the surface of the water with a spoon. Cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat to a simmer.

Lentils in pan

  • Simmer, stirring regularly, for 35-40 minutes, or until the lentils are just tender, adding more water as necessary.
  • When the lentils have cooked through, remove the pan from the heat and use a whisk to break down the lentils. Set the mixture aside to thicken and cool.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and fry for 20-30 seconds, or until fragrant.
  • Add the onion, chillies and ginger and fry for 4-5 minutes, or until golden-brown.
  • Chop the garlic and tomatoes as finely as you can, then add to the pan and stir well to combine.

onions and peppers in pan

  • Add the ground spices and 100ml/3½fl oz of water to the pan and stir well to combine.
  • Season with salt (to taste) and simmer over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the oil from the sauce has risen to the surface of the sauce.
  • Add the cooked lentils to the sauce and stir well, adding more water as necessary to loosen the mixture. Bring the mixture to the boil and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Stir in the chopped coriander just before serving.

Tarka Dahl in pan

This is a beautiful meal to share at home with friends and family and goes lovely with a bottle of wine! Stay tuned for next week's blog where we share with you our Tandoori Paneer Skewers.

Tarka Dahl Finished

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