6 portions. Maximum cost: £9.50, 

Skill level: Medium (not to do with process, but you do need a lot of ingredients) 

Total cooking time: 1 hour, 

Prep time: 10 minutes, 

Cooking time: 50 minutes, 

Equipment used:  1 large pot, 1 smaller saucepan, Food processor or blender, 


This isn’t your standard Jamie Oliver recipe, oh no. This is one of Jamie’s Recipease recipes. I made this with a lovely friend of mine a while ago under the influence of a couple of glasses of wine – It turned out great which inspired me to try more recipes which can look a bit more complex (or to drink more when cooking)

 The thali we made that day consisted of 5 dishes.  Although each of these required a lot of ingredients, the extensive list of spices were used in nearly all dishes.

Don’t be put off by this long list though, even if you had to buy everything it’s actually not as expensive as you may initially think, providing you shop in the right places. I live round the corner from Nour cash & carry in Brixton and have previously bought EVERYTHING needed for all 5 dishes for under £15

The dal was most definitely the star of the show – the “tarka” part refers to the popping spices heated in oil that are added at the end of the dish – the crisp curry leaves are perhaps my favourite part, I can’t compare the taste to anything else. 

On the day we made flat breads and a warm cabbage salad, but I prefer to serve this with okra and ready made naan – again courtesy of Nour.


To cook:

(Original recipe in bold font, my comments in italic)

Wash 210g dal in warm water then add to a saucepan with 1.25 litres of water and cook on a gentle heat for about 45 minutes or until the dal is soft and mushy. 

Take the dal off the heat.

To the dal, add the following;  1 can of chopped tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger, 1 tablespoon of freshly grated garlic, a generous pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of tumeric, 1 teaspoon of red chilli powder, the juice from 2 lemons, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon of ground coriander and 1 tablespoon of ground cumin. Blitz with a hand blender (or throw in a food processor) and then add in the fresh coriander stalks. 

In a separate pan, add the fenugreek and mustard seeds, red dried chilli and curry leaves. Once it starts to crackle, pour in 1 ladle of your dal and then pour back into the big pot of dal, simmer for about 5 minutes, taste and adjust the seasoning – you may need more lemon juice, sugar, salt and spice.

It would be wise to cover the saucepan with a tea towel as the seeds will pop, fly out of the pan and burn! Also, if you want to make the presentation pretty (as I did), simply pour the oil mixture into the centre of the dal and mix at the table. I’d advise NOT to eat the dried chillies, but the seeds and curry leaves are actually delicious.



If the below list looks a little daunting, try leaving out or substituting ingredients you don’t have. There are so many variations of dal recipe on-line, you are bound to find one to suit your ingredient list.

All ingredients from Nour, BrixtonNour spices

  • 210g Tuvar dal / split yellow peas (80p)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes (80p)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (20p)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated garlic (50p for a bulb)
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • juice of 2 lemons (60p)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric (55p for a bag)
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder – I’ve subsituted a pinch of cayenne pepper here before (55p for a bag)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin (55p for a bag)
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander (55p for a bag)
  • fresh coriander stalks (50p for a bunch)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (55p for a bag)
  • 2 or 3 whole dry chillies (£1)
  • 3 or 4 curry leaves (£1.89 for a bag)
  • wraps or flat breads or rotis (£1) – (if you’re lucky enough to live near Nour in Brixton, they sell fluffy naans or rotis for £1.10 a packet)


View other vegan dishes