feeds 4 people
250g orange split lentils
small-medium onion, chopped
half teaspoon salt
1 dried chilli
half teaspoon turmeric powder
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
garnish: finely-sliced garlic; cumin seed
wash lentils in several changes of water, keeping a sharp eye out for tiny pebbles.
Put lentils in a saucepan, and add 11/2 pints cold water. Bring to boil, then add all other ingredients. Return to boil, then turn down heat and simmer for about 20 mins, until the mixture has absorbed all the water and is like yellow porridge (the shape of the lentils will still be visible). You may wish to remove the dried chilli before you serve the dal.
In a small, cast-iron pan, heat a little cooking oil till smoking hot. Drop in cumin seeds and sliced garlic. Cook, shaking pan all the time to ensure even cooking. As soon as garlic is dark brown, up-end the cast-iron pan into the dal tarka. Serve