Indian food is really, relatively easy to make. At least according to my neighbor who is from S. Africa by way of Gujarat State. But she has something like 200 different spice powders on a rack from Ikea hanging by her stove. I have six or eight plus some garlic powder I bring in from Italy when I can. I do love Indian food though. This causes me to resort to the Indian Pavilion in the supermarket shopping center.
A medium sized restaurant tupperware container of Tadka Dahl will set you back about 21dhs. or $5.72 This is, in point of fact, a wholly outrageous price for what amounts to mostly lentils and some onions. So I learned to make my own.
In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, cook one cup of split red or yellow lentils with one liter of water and two teaspoons turmeric. Add a sprinkling of mustard seeds and methi (fenugreek seeds). In a separate frying pan, sautee one onion, 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, a thumb of ginger and a green chili until the vegetables are soft. Add a tsp. of garam masala, stir well and continue to cook on low until fragrant. Add your cooked vegetables, 1/2 of a veggie stock cube and about 1/2 cup of chopped tomato (canned are ok), to the lentils. If the water has cooked off, add another 1/2 cup. Continue to cook this on low for 10-15 min. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over brown rice.
I added about a cup of finely chopped zucchini just to up the veg content. But this left T. shaking her head in disgust at me... I couldn't really taste much impact from the zucchini.