Parveen The Spice Queen: Sugar and spice, all things nice

I attended a family wedding last weekend. However, this was no ordinary wedding. Nope, this was a 3-day celebratory extravaganza with over 100 members of the Ashraf clan descending in one place. I'd like to say it was not a pretty sight but it was!

Saturday, 5th May 2018, 7:45 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 5:35 pm
Parveen The Spice Queen

It was full-on bling city with bindis and bangles galore. Apart from the dress code having more sequins than Strictly Come Dancing and the food being hot and spicy, it was just like any other wedding. With several bridezilla moments; a seating plan arranged around awkward exes; lots of laughter and tears - and lots of wedding cake.

After three days of eating and drinking more than humanly possible, I needed a serious detox and to eat clean - enter my tarka daal made with extra turmeric and garlic. The recipe for my wonderfully “garlicky” daal is light on the tummy and tastes delicious.

I believe that we as a nation have now wholeheartedly accepted the use of garlic in our culinary repertoire.

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However, that was not always the case. Garlic used to be seen as a very French ingredient. We can all picture the beret-wearing Frenchman on his bicycle with a string of garlic bulbs draped around his neck. Then we all got a taste for garlic and we loved it.

For me, my first taste of garlic in a non-curry dish was in the mid 80s when I ate my first slice of garlic bread in a brand new 
restaurant called ... Pizza Hut!

Aside from the wonderful taste, garlic is said to have many health benefits; it can be used as an infection fighter - against viruses, bacteria and fungi. It helps to lower cholesterol levels and also acts as an anticoagulant thus reducing the risk of heart attacks. It almost sounds like a holy grail of super food with healing properties. Perhaps that’s why we have seen it depicted in horror films as a means of warding off evil vampires. Obviously we don’t live in 15th century Transylvania, but any help in warding off the most evil of ailments is most welcome. Yes - I am talking about the common cold.


250g Red Split lentils

6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

2 tbsp freshly chopped coriander

4 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp turmeric powder


1. Put the lentils in a large pan and wash and rinse them 3 times.

2. Add 850 ml of hot water, salt, turmeric & chilli. Bring to the boil. Cover & simmer for 30 mins. Stirring occasionally. Remove from heat & set aside.

3. In a separate frying pan, on medium heat fry the garlic until slightly brown.

4. Gently add the garlic into the cooked lentils, bring to the boil.

5. Add the coriander, stir through. Cover & simmer for a further 10 mins.

Prep Time: 10 mins; Cooking time: 55 mins; Serves approx 4 - 6 people;

For more recipes or information, contact Parveen on [email protected]


If you cannot buy fresh then try frozen garlic.