Tomato Tadka Daal

Tomato Tadka Daal

Tadka Daal is a crowd-pleasing aromatic lentil dish. The tadka’s toasted spices are added at the end to temper the dish, elevating the lentils from simple to fragrant and comforting. Serve with coconut rice, naan and a glass of Showerings for a satisfying midweek supper.


  • 200g dry red lentils (mansoor dal), rinsed and drained
  • 60ml + 30ml olive oil or ghee
  • 1 tsp ground cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 small, dried red chilis
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Salt
  • 2 limes
  • 300g raw basmati rice, rinsed well until the water runs clear
  • One 400ml can coconut milk
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • Fresh coriander, to serve
  • Naan, to serve

Ingredients for tomato Tadka Daal


1. Place a large pot on the stove over medium heat and add 2 tbsp of olive oil or ghee. Once hot, add the ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric powder, and dried chilis and stir to coat the spices in the oil/ghee. They will sizzle and become fragrant as they cook. After about 30 seconds, add the tomato paste and stir to combine, cook for another 30 seconds, then add the drained red lentils and stir to coat them in the spice mixture.

Frying onions and seasoning

2. Pour in 1 litre water, season with salt, and bring to a simmer. Cook until the lentils are tender, about 12-15 minutes, then season with juice from 1 lime and more salt if necessary.

3. While the lentils cook, make the coconut rice and the tadka: To make the coconut rice, add the drained basmati rice, 400ml coconut milk, and 200ml of water to a pot with a tight-fitting lid on high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover with the lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes without removing the lid. After 5 minutes have passed, remove the lid and fluff the rice gently with a fork to release some of the steam, then set aside.

4. To make the tadka, add 60ml of ghee or oil to a skillet on medium heat, then add the onion, season with salt, and cook until it begins to brown. When the onion has browned slightly, add the garlic, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and fennel seeds and stir to combine. Cook for another few minutes until the spices are toasted and the garlic is beginning to brown, then remove from the heat.

5. Spoon the tadka into the pot with the lentils and stir to combine. Serve the daal garnished with more lime juice and fresh coriander leaves and alongside the coconut rice and naan.

Plated up tomato Tadka Daal with coconut rice and naan bread