The first dish I learned to cook with my mother was, in its purest form a comfort food.

For most, it's about the simplicity in preparing the dish, but for others it's the memories of yesteryear that each spoonful evokes. 

Tarka Daal has no roots and is cooked around the subcontinent in different ways, However, the Bangladeshi Tarka Daal is probably the most well-known and for me it's best served with rice, green chillies and a small wedge of lemon.

This is the simplest of dishes to prepare. Start by soaking the red lentils for about 30 mins. Then rinse, drain and place in a saucepan with 400ml of boiling water and turmeric. Simmer gently for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

While the lentils are resting, it's time to make the tarka. Heat the oil or butter in a heavy based pan. Tip in the asafoetida.

When it crackles, add the panch phoran and stir for a few seconds allowing the remaining seeds to crackle.

Add the onion or shallots and fry for 5 minutes until soft. Mix in the chilli and add the tomato.

Stir the tarka into the lentils, cover the pan and let the spices infuse for a further 2 minutes. Serve hot with rice, green chillies and a lemon wedge. 

Recipe by Manju Malhi

Styling: Tracey Clark

200g red lentils or masoor daal
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp olive oil or butter
a pinch of asafoetida
1/4 tsp panch phoran or east Indian five-spice mixture
1 small onion or 2-3 shallots, sliced
1 green chilli, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1 tomato, chopped