Mixed Tardka Dahl

Dahl is an extremely popular dish in Fiji, in fact with Indians, wherever in the world they maybe living.  It is a dish which can be eaten on its own, as a side dish or be the hero of the plate with rice and or roti.

There are so many versions of dahl but for me, mixed dahl as is commonly cooked in Fiji is the most comforting.   It’s a mix of dahl (lentils) that is cooked in very simple spices and depending on the ratio of lentils used a souring agent like lemon juice or pieces of dried mango.

The addition of spinach, pumpkin, eggplant, carrot etc at step 4 makes it a hearty soup, worthy of eating with garlic naan so every little bit can be mopped up.

What takes the flavour level another notch is the tempering (also called tardka or chowka).

I recall my grandmother used to have a special karchool (ladle) that she used for the chowka.   It was quite deep, maybe about a cup and half capacity.  She would load it up with ghee and sometimes even a little mustard oil or coconut oil.  Holding the ladle over an open fire, she would temper these spices until the onions were starting to caramelise.  Then she would take lid off the cooked dahl, submerge the ladle and all its contents into the pot and quickly cover it with the lid so as not to burn from the splatters.

I don’t cook over an open fire but I still do this tardka process, using a small frying pan.  When the tardka is ready, I quickly pour it into the dahl and cover the pot and let it sit for a while.

Why cook in the Thermomix:

This recipe takes a while to cook.   If like me, you don’t like to use a pressure cooker then I have found making dahl in a Thermomix to be super easy.  The actual contact and “facetime” with the Thermomix version is minimal.  I can confidently concentrate on other chores as I know the Thermomix will alert me to the next step.  Plus, I know there will be no overflowing or burning of the dahl with the end result being a creamy consistency.

Mixed Tardka Dahl

Prep Time 1 hr 5 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6



  • ¾ cup arhar dahl (yellow pigeon peas)
  • ¾ cup split yellow peas
  • ½ cup moong dahl
  • ½ cup masoor dahl
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ tspn turmeric
  • 1 large tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 or 2 red chillies, slit in middle
  • 1 Tbs ginger paste
  • ½ tspn garlic paste
  • Pinch Asafoetida
  • 4-5 pieces driedmango or 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 sprigs chopped coriander, for garnishing. 


  • 4 Tbs gheeor coconut oil
  • ½ brownonion, thinly diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly chopped
  • 2 tspn cumin seeds
  • 1 tspn black mustard seeds
  • Pinch Asafoetida



  • Mix all the lentils together and rinse several times untilthe water runs clear. Transfer to a large bowl, cover with water and soak forat least an hour.
  • Place roughly chopped tomato, garlic and ginger paste in themixing bowl and chop 5 sec/ speed 7.
  • Drain and add the soaked lentils to the mixing bowl.  Add 3 cups of water, chillies, turmeric andpinch of asafoetida. Cook 30 mins / 100 deg/ reverse/ speed 1.
  • Add salt to taste and dried mango pieces if using and cookfor a further 30 mins / 100 deg / reverse / speed 1.
  • Temper the tardka and add to the dahl.   Taste for salt if more souring agent isneeded, add lemon juice.
  • Cover the mixing bowl with the lid, MC on and cook foran additional 5 mins/ 100 deg/ reverse / speed 1.  (If dahl is too thick, add some boiling waterto loosen it.)   
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

Tardka/ Chowka

  • Heat ghee or oil in a non stick frying pan, over medium heat.
  • Add cumin seeds and mustard seeds and allow to crackle.
  • Next add the diced onions and fry until the edges start to turn brown.
  • Addthe sliced garlic and continue to fry for a further minute or so until theonions and garlic start to change colour
  • Add a pinch of asafoetida and as soon as it becomes fragrant,add to the dahl, cover and proceed with the recipe.