Maharashtrian Amti Dal


  • toor dal or red lentils 250g
  • ground turmeric 1 tsp
  • ghee or vegetable oil 2 tbsp
  • black mustard seeds 1 heaped tsp
  • fresh curry leaves 10
  • asafoetida a pinch
  • green bird’s-eye chillies 2, slit lengthwise
  • jaggery or light brown sugar 1 tbsp
  • tamarind paste 2 tsp
  • Maharashtrian goda masala 1 tsp, or garam masala ¼ tsp
  • mild chilli powder ½ tsp
  • coconut grated to make 1 tbsp
  • coriander chopped, to serve
  • chapatis or cooked basmati rice to serve


  • STEP 1. Put the lentils in a heavy-based pan with 1 litre water and the turmeric. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 45-50 minutes or until the lentils start to get mushy – stir well to ensure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat, mash the lentils slightly to thicken, then cover and set aside.
  • STEP 2. Heat the ghee in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat then add the mustard seeds. As soon as they begin to splutter, add the curry leaves. Fry for a few seconds, then add the asafoetida and chillies. Tip in the cooked lentils, along with the jaggery, tamarind, goda masala and chilli powder, and season with salt. Mix well and fry for 1 minute. Add enough just-boiled water (about 100-200ml) to make the dahl soupy, then simmer for 5 minutes. Stir well, turn off the heat and garnish with the coconut and coriander. Serve warm with chapatis or rice.

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