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During her stay in Bangladesh, Naomi Duguid fell in love with dals (soupy lentil dishes) known as tok dal, or tart dal. “They all have an intriguing balance of tartness from tamarind and lime, and sweetness from slow-cooked onions.” While asparagus isn’t a traditional ingredient, Duguid was inspired to add it because Bangladesh is so fertile, and many green vegetables grow there.

Naomi Duguid
May 2012


Credit: © John Kernick

Recipe Summary

45 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils with the water and bring to a boil. Skim off the foam and stir in 1/8 teaspoon of the turmeric. Cover partially and simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the lentils break down, about 20 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds and cook over moderate heat until they start to pop, 1 minute. Add the fennel seeds, coriander, chile and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon of turmeric and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the garlic and onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 minutes.

  • Add the asparagus to the skillet. Cover and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add the lentils and dissolved tamarind and bring to a simmer. Season the dal with salt.


One Serving: 321 cal, 15 gm fat, 1 gm sat fat, 34 gm carb, 9 gm fiber, 15 gm protein.

Serve With

Lime wedges and rice.

Suggested Pairing

Vibrant Grüner Veltliner.