All Hail Tarka Dal!!! (and Sag-a-loo)

When my husband became a vegetarian, he grieved the loss of his favorite Chinese foods…

They ALL contained meat, and he was not keen on a vegetarian substitute.

Especially once he discovered he could not successfully consume soy products.

So, he was VERY excited when we went to eat Indian food one night at a local restaurant in Atlanta’s Little 5 Points district.


He wiggled and exclaimed in delight, “Yay! I’ve found my new Chinese food!” Haha!

Imagine his disappointment when later that night, I had a reaction from the food.

Come to find out, in the rice they used a “vegetable” based butter substitute with soy and whey ingredients (Yes! I had done my due diligence and asked… but they didn’t know).

The whole family had SO enjoyed the food that I decided to take it upon myself to research the two dishes and tweak the recipes until it was JUST like the ones from the restaurant.

I relished in the sheer excitement my husband showed when he took that first bite of my modified recipes and it tasted exactly like the dishes we’d all enjoyed that night.

He ALWAYS looks forward to this dinner being on the menu.

Tarka Dal

0209122102a16oz 365 Brand Organic Split Red Lentils (look for the GF variety)
4 Rapunzel Brand Bouillon, Herbs and Sea Salt
1 medium organic onion, diced
1 TBSP Spicely Organic Garam Masala
2 TBSP 365 Brand Vegan Organic Raw Sugar
2 TBSP Organic High Heat Oil
6-8 cups of water

In a large dutch oven, add your oil on medium high heat. Saute your diced onions until they begin to caramelize. Add the Garam Masala and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add your lentils, sugar, bouillon cubes, and enough water to cover the lentils by 1 inch. Reduce heat to medium low (to a mild simmer) and cook for 30-40 minutes (stirring occasionally), adding some water as necessary, until the individual lentils become unrecognizable, and it resembles the consistency of a pea soup.

Make a pot of Basmati or Jasmine rice to go with it.


(This dish can be spicy, depending on the type of Garam Masla you are using, so be mindful of who you serve it too)

1 bag of organic frozen chopped spinach
2 large or 3 medium potatoes, diced into 1/2- 1 in cubes
1 can of Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
1 medium onion, diced
3 TBSP Spicely Organic Garam Masala
1 Rapunzel Sea Salt and Herb Bouillon
3 TBSP Organic High Heat oil

In a large saute pan with a lid, or preferably a Sautoir with a lid, saute this onions in oil until they begin to turn golden. Add the garam masala and the bouillon and incorporate for 1-2 minutes.

In this order, add the potatoes, the spinach, and the can of tomatoes, spreading the tomatoes evenly over the top. DO NOT STIR. Reduce to medium-low heat, cover, and let cook for 10 minutes. Stir, and cook another 10 minutes… stirring every 5 minutes. There will be some browning and sticking on the bottom. This is normal. Once the food rests, the moisture will help it lift and become a part of the dish, or you can scrape it along the way as your stir. Either way, it’s part of the yummy flavor!

To serve these two dishes, create a bed of rice on a plate or wide mouthed bowl. Place the Tarka Dal on top of one side of the bed of rice, and the Sag-a-loo on top of the other. you can garnish with chopped cilantro, and enjoy!


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