Thali’s smoked tadka dhal

Thali's smoked tadka dhal

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  • 6 to 8
  • Easy
  • 30 minutes
  • 30 minutes


  • 500 g split moong dhal, soaked in water overnight
  • A pinch ground turmeric
  • 20 g cumin seeds
  • 100 ml vegetable oil
  • 200 g onion, julienned
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • a thumb ginger, julienned
  • 2 t red chilli, sliced
  • salt, to taste
  • 500 g plum tomatoes, grated

Cooking Instructions

Cook the soaked dhal and turmeric in water over a medium heat until quite soft and not chalky.

Temper the cumin seeds in the oil over a high heat. Add the onion and caramelise.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, ginger and chilli and sweat down until translucent. Season with lots of salt. Add the tomato and cook for 20–30 minutes.

Add the cooked dhal to the tomato base. Check the seasoning one last time.

Cook's note: Smoking the dhal is optional but gives great dimension to the dish. Do this by using wood or coal and drizzling a few drops of oil onto it, place it in a stainless-steel bowl and immediately covering the dish with tin foil. Let it smoke for a while.

This recipe is from the My Family Kitchen in the April 2018 issue of TASTE Magazine. Former chef turned photographer, Claire Gunn, took her camera backstage to document the 'family' meal, which can forget deep connections in a kitchen team.

Discover what the staff of other restaurants, including La Colombe, The Test Kitchen and The Restaurant at Waterkloof, eat here.

Thali Recipe by: Thali
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Thali is a Cape Town restaurant that serves modified Indian cuisine. Chef Liam Tomlin partnered with Dimo Papachristodoulou and opened Thali in 2016.

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