Chicken Dal Tadka

Tadka means a cooking process in which spices are fried in oil at the beginning of preparation, the other ingredients – for example, vegetables – being added to the tempered oil. Confusingly, it can also mean a cooking process in which the tempered oil is added to the dish at the end of cooking to give a richness that it might not otherwise possess. The following is a little fussy to set up, but cooking time is no more than twenty to twenty-five minutes. It is even better if prepared, allowed to cool over night then reheated.


¼ cup oil.

1 tblsp ground cumin.

1 tblsp ground coriander.

1 large onion, chopped.

1 tsp turmeric.

3 large cloves of garlic, chopped.

1 25mm knob ginger, chopped.

1 green chilli, seeded and chopped.

Salt to taste.

1 cup red lentils [Masoor Dal].

1 440g can chopped tomatoes.

1 cup water.

1 cup diced cooked chicken meat.


Heat the oil in a pan and fry the cumin and coriander for 2-3 minutes. Add the onion, stir to cover with the spices and fry until beginning to turn brown. Add the turmeric, garlic, ginger, chilli and salt, stir through and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the lentils and stir through.

Add the tomatoes, water and meat, stir thoroughly and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for thirty minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking, and add a little water if too dry. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for an hour or two in a cool place.

Gently reheat and serve with mixed vegetables and rice on the side.



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