Dal Tadka (with roasted cauliflower)


‘m a bit lost for words on this one *love eyes*. I love dal but this one is a culinary cuddle with a gentle kiss of coconut among the curry layers. I am about packing in as much flavour as possible so if you’re used to using my recipes you won’t be surprised that I normally use about double the spices so please be heavy handed! 

I’ll never be a vegan but as I was cooking I realised we’d chosen something similar for our vegan/vegetarian wedding dinner option and thus realised its vegan by coincidence. Not many recipes are such, usually tirelessly omitting all the fun. But if I had to be vegan, I’d eat this one everyday!

Serving suggestions…this is devine with some warm fluffy flatbreads (250g SR flour, 150ml water mix into a dough, rest and roll thinly before dry frying!). It would also work wonderfully as a side dish to a curry feast or some grilled meat at a BBQ.

Serves about 3 people (Or 2 with leftovers in our case!)


  • 150g red lentils
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 knob ginger
  • 1 bride eye red chilli (as hot as you like)
  • 6 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seed
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1.5 tbsp curry powder
  • 400ml coconut milk (I always recommend Dunn’s brand here hands down)
  • 1 lime
  • Olive/vegetable/rapeseed oil
  • Flatbreads – to serve


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala
  • 1 heaped tsp tumeric
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Handful chopped coriander


  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • Few curry leaves
  • Ghee or oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 200. Break the cauliflower into florets and cut the bigger pieces in half or quarters (think big bitesize so you don’t need a knife!). Add to a large roasting tray in a single even layer so they aren’t cramped.
  2. Scatter garam masala, turmeric and a good pinch of salt and pepper and then drizzle with some olive/vegetable oil and toss to combine.
  3. Timing with the dal cooking times below, roast for about 10-15 minutes during step 8 of making the dal below on a high heat to char the florets but not overcook. Remove from the oven when ready. Scatter with the chopped coriander and keep warm.
  4. For the dal, heat a splash of olive oil in a saucepan pan and soften the chopped onion for about 5 minutes.
  5. Grate in the garlic, ginger and chopped chilli and stir. Add curry leaves and season.
  6. Add the spices and mix well for a few minutes to coat the oily onions and release their flavour!
  7. Add the lentils and stir to combine.
  8. Add the coconut milk and about 100ml of boiling water and stir well. Simmer well for about 20 minutes making sure to stir often to avoid it sticking or catching on the bottom. You may need to add another 100ml of water if it gets thick. I used about 800ml of liquid in total but it may depend on the quality of your coconut milk. (I always recommend Dunn’s brand here hands down).
  9. After 20 minutes of so it should be thick and shiny and the lentils just cooked. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  10. When ready, squeeze in the juice of the lime and keep warm.
  11. Finally, to make the tadka, add a small tsp of oil of ghee to a frying pan. When really hot, add the mustard and cumin seeds and let them sizzle and release their lovely flavours! Add the curry leaves, careful as they will spit (due to their moisture content!). Let them crisp for a few seconds and remove from the heat.
  12. Serve a nice creamy scoop of dal in a warm bowl, top with roasted cauliflower and coriander and finally a little spoonful of that tadka!