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Meera Sodha’s daily Dal that she inherited from her mother. Nothing complex but very satisfying and like so many dishes, tastes better the next day. We served with rice, naan bread from the takeaway, yoghurt and mango chutney.

Daily dal – serves 4

  • 225g red lentils
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 12 peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 6cm ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 400g tin plum tomatoes

Rinse the lentils in a sieve until the water runs clear then put into a deep saucepan with a lid. Add 600ml of cold water, then bring to the boil over a medium-high heat. Cover with the lid and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes without stirring, until tender.

Meanwhile, put the oil into another deep saucepan. When hot, add the peppercorns and cloves and stir-fry for a minute, or until fragrant, then add the onion and cook for 8-10 minutes, until golden. 

Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for another 4 minutes before adding the chilli powder, coriander, turmeric and salt. Stir well, then add the tinned tomatoes, crushing them with your hand, then cover and simmer gently for about 8 minutes. 

The tomatoes should look paste-like now with only a little juice. Add the lentils using a draining spoon, then pour in any remaining water that they were boiling in, a little at a time, or until the consistency is good. 

Cover the pan again and cook on a low heat for a final 10 minutes. 

Taste and season with salt and more chilli if you like. 

(Original recipe from Made in India by Meera Sodha, Penguin: Fig Tree, 2014.)

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