Red Lentil Tarka Dhal with Honey Roasted Cauliflower

This delicious bowl of goodness has just enough spice to tantalize your taste buds. The roasted cauliflower has a nice crunch to it so adds a bit of ‘bite’ to the smooth and creamy lentil dhal it is nestled on. I use red split lentils as they can be cooked from dried in ten minutes without any soaking time.

Theo's Family Kitchen



1 large cauliflower, broken into small florets (tender leaves cut in half)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 tablespoon mustard seeds

a pinch of chilli/chile powder or hot smoked paprika

a pinch of salt

2 tablespoons runny honey


200 g/1 1⁄4 cups red split lentils

15 ml/1 tablespoon olive oil

50 g/3 1⁄2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, finely sliced

3 garlic cloves, chopped

5-cm/2-in. piece of freshginger, grated

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1⁄2 tablespoon ground cumin

1⁄2 tablespoon cumin seeds

1⁄2 tablespoon garam masala

1⁄2 tablespoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon salt

6 baby plum tomatoes, halved

1 green birdseye chilli/chile, chopped


2 tablespoons toasted peanuts, crushed

a handful of coriander/cilantro leaves, chopped

200 g/scant 1 cup natural/plain Greek-style yogurt

4 lime wedges



Preheat the oven to 220°C fan/240°C/465°F/gas 8. 

Place the cauliflower florets and leaves in a large mixing bowl, pour in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle over the curry powder, mustard seeds, chilli/chile powder and salt. Toss to coat the florets in the oil and spices Place them and their leaves on a large baking sheet, drizzle with the honey and pop into the oven for about 20 minutes, or until they start to crisp and brown.

While the cauliflower is cooking, make the dhal. Give the lentils a quick rinse, then put them in a saucepan with double their volume of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 10 minutes, skimming off any impurities as they cook. Once cooked they should have some texture but no crunch – if they are still too watery, spoon some of the liquid off. Leave to rest while you make the tarka.

To make the tarka, heat the 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter in a separate frying pan/skiller over a medium heat and sauté the onion for a few minutes until it softens. Stir in the garlic and ginger, quickly followed by all the spices and the salt. The butter will start to foam, at which point stir in the tomatoes and green chilli/chile. Leave to cook for 1 minute, then remove from the heat.

Finally, stir a third of the tarka into the cooked lentils, then divide into serving bowls. Spoon the remaining tarka over the top of the bowls. Pile the roasted cauliflower in the centre, scatter over some peanuts and chopped coriander/cilantro.

Serve with Greek yogurt for spooning and lime wedges for squeezing.


This recipe is from Theo’s Family Kitchen by Theo Michaels. To get more great blog posts like this one - direct to your inbox – be sure to sign up to our mailing list  here.