Red lentil tarka dal with apricot and coriander naan bread
A classic fragrant tarka dal with sweet fruity apricot naan breads makes a perfect vegetarian dinner.
For the tarka dal
- 200g/7oz red lentils
- 3cm/1¼ piece fresh root ginger, peeled
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 3 tbsp ghee
- 1 onion, half finely chopped, half finely sliced
- 1½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
- 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 dried red chilli, roughly chopped
For the apricot and coriander naan breads
- 400g/14oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1½ tsp instant dried yeast
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 110ml/4fl oz milk
- 110ml/4fl oz plain yoghurt
- 1 free-range egg, beaten
- 4 tbsp ghee, plus extra for greasing
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 150g/5oz dried apricots, finely chopped
- 4-6 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves, to serve
For the tarka dahl, place the lentils, ginger and turmeric into a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Skim any scum from the surface, then reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering and simmer the lentils for 25-30 minutes, or until tender. Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat a frying pan until hot, add two tablespoons of the ghee and all of the finely chopped onion, ground cumin, ground coriander and chilli powder and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and fresh red chilli and cook for a further 1-2 minutes, or until softened.
Add the tomatoes and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the tomatoes have broken down and the mixture has thickened slightly. Add the cooked, drained lentils and stir to combine. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining ghee in a separate frying pan, add the sliced onion and the dried red chilli and fry over a high heat for 4-5 minutes, or until the onion is crisp and golden-brown.
For the apricot and coriander naan breads, place the flour, sugar, yeast, baking powder and salt into a bowl and mix well to combine.
Whisk together the milk, yoghurt, egg and one tablespoon of the ghee together in a separate bowl until well combined.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients in the first bowl and pour in the milk mixture, mixing to form a soft dough.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured work surface for ten minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise (prove) for one hour.
Meanwhile, preheat the grill to high and the oven to 230C/450F/Gas 8. Place a baking sheet into the preheated oven.
When the dough has risen, remove it from the bowl and knock back to remove most of the air. Knead once more, then divide into four equal portions.
Roll and stretch each dough portion into a teardrop-shaped piece, as large and thin as possible. Mix one teaspoon of the ground coriander with the remaining ghee and the other teaspoon of ground coriander with the chopped apricots.
Sprinkle the apricot and coriander mixture lengthways over one half of each piece of dough. Fold over and press down lightly, then reshape into a tear drop shape, using a rolling pin.
Place the dough onto the preheated baking sheet, transfer to the oven and bake for 4-5 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove from the oven, brush with the coriander and ghee mixture, then grill the breads under the preheated grill for 1-2 minutes, until golden-brown on top.
To serve, spoon the dahl into four serving bowls, scatter over the crisp onions and chilli and sprinkle over the chopped coriander. Serve the naan bread alongside.