138. urad dal (split black gram curry)

August 8, 2012mayurisjikoni
Blog post

My favourite dal

  Split urad dal (split black grams) is easy, tasty and creamy without the cream. I tend to make this dal every week and serve it with hot chapattis. As I have mentioned before, vegetarians need to include various types of beans in their daily diet to meet the protein requirement. Dals or curries are a good option to have with rice or chapattis. Also known as white lentils, they are a rich source of protein, high in dietary fibers, provide energy and rich in magnesium and folates. During one of my health check ups in India, I was asked by the doctor what our daily meal was. I replied that we normally had dal, roti or rice and sabji with chaas (buttermilk) nearly everyday for lunch. This led to a discussion how many Indian families think that the traditional meal of dal, sabji and rice or roti is unhealthy. Contrary to their belief, its a balanced diet, we just have to be careful of the serving he suggested. I couldn’t agree with the doctor more. Feed a balanced diet to your family and children and not just junk food.

updated 25/01/2016






4 Servings

1 cup split urad dal (white without skin)
2½ cups water
2 cups water
1 cup finely chopped onions
8 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 big tomato
½ inch ginger or 1 tsp ginger paste
½ to 1 tsp green chilli paste
8 peppercorns
4-6 cloves
1 one inch cinnamon stick
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
½ tsp mustard seeds (rai)
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 to 1¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
1 tbsp oil
¼ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
2 tbsps fresh chopped coriander

  1. Wash the dal and let it soak for about 1 hour in the 2½ cups of water.
  2. In the meantime get the chillis, garlic and onions ready.
  3. Cut the ginger into thin strips or make a paste.
  4. Chop the tomato finely or grate it.
  5. Put the lentils with the water in a pressure cooker. Add the turmeric powder. Cook for 3 whistles. If you do not have a pressure cooker, cook it in a pot with more water over low heat.This may take about an hour.
  6. Heat the oil and ghee. Add peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, cumin, mustard seeds and asafoetida. 
  7. Add onions and stir fry till they are light brown in colour. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and stir fry for a minute or so.
  8. Add the cooked lentils, remaining 2 cups of water and salt. Mix well.
  9. When it begins to boil, lower the heat and add the tomato.
  10. Let the dal simmer over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes. Stir it occasionally so it does not stick at the bottom.
  11. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander or with extra tadka.
  12. For the tadka or tempering, heat about 2 tbsps of ghee, add more cumin seeds, ½ tsp mustard seeds and a tbsp of finely chopped garlic or onion. Stir fry till the onion or garlic becomes brown. 
  13. Pour over the prepared dal and serve immediately.
Tips :
  • For the tadka can use chopped green chilli instead of garlic or onions. Can also use cinnamon, cloves and pepper for tadka.
  • Serve with a dollop of butter.
  • If the dal becomes too thick, add extra water.
  • For a more spicier curry, increase the amount of garlic, onion and ginger.
You may want to check out the following :
spinach masoor dal




  • Shobha

    February 25, 2016 at 11:18 pm

    Looks yummy.. I usually make with the skin..When making the peeled one I mix a handful of toor dal too..

  • Dannii Martin

    February 26, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    I am dal obsessed at the moment. I have had it twice this week already 🙂


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