Urad Dal /Split Black Gram Curry

August 8, 2012mayurisjikoni
Blog post

What is Urad Dal?

Urad is known by several names – black gram, urad bean, vigna mungo, mungo bean or black matpe bean. Grown widely in the Indian Sub Continent it is used not only for curries but for so many other dishes. Urad dal, whole or split is a vital ingredient in preparing fermented batter for idli, dosa and medu vada. Its also added to so many varieties of fritters, Dahi Vadas wouldn’t be the same without this dal. Papads or poppadoms that every Indian Restaurant serves and people love is made from urad dal. Basically, whichever Indian Cuisine you make, this dal is an essential pantry ingredient.

Two Types of Urad Dal

Urad is generally the name used when referring to the whole bean and urad dal is when its split. There are two types of urad dals available in the market – one with the black skin and one without the black skin. Both are used, though I prefer the one with the skin as it adds fibre to one’s diet. However, sometimes when I don’t get urad dal with the skin I buy the one without the skin.

Health Benefits of Urad Dal

  • Its rich in dietary fibre which helps to keep the digestive system healthy
  • Rich in magnesium and potassium, its good for heart health, improving circulation and preventing build up of bad cholesterol.
  • Its a rich source of protein
  • Urad dal contains calcium and therefore helps to maintain bone health.
  • Helps to control blood sugar levels therefore making it a good bean for diabetics.

My Favorite Dal

Urad Dal/ Split Black Gram Curry  is easy, tasty and creamy without the cream. I tend to make this dal every week and serve it with hot chapattis as its my favorite.Why you should have Dals, Beans or Lentils in your daily diet

Why you should include lentils and beans in your daily diet

Besides the above mentioned reasons, vegetarians need to get their protein requirement from dairy products and any type of dal, beans and lentils. Its best to prepare different types of dals everyday either for lunch or dinner or both. I tend to make dals every day. Our normal lunch is a dal, some vegetable and either roti or rice. During a regular health checkup, the doctor who evaluated our reports asked me what our daily meals are like. When I told him the usual dal, sabji, roti or rice, he was happy and stressed that many people presume that our traditional meal is not healthy. However, its a perfectly balanced meal as log as one enjoys it in controlled portions and without too much fat in it. There is nothing more satisfying than the dal, vegetable and roti or rice meal.

How to Include Beans, Lentils in your daily diet

Here are some curries that you may like to prepare to include them in your daily diet. I usually try to make different curries everyday including different beans or lentils so that the family doesn’t get bored of one dish only.

Ingredients required for Urad Dal /Split Black Gram Curry

  • Urad Dal – easily available in Indian Stores and nowadays in Supermarkets too, use either the one with the skin or without the skin.
  • Onion – Finely chopped is best and make sure you stir fry it over low heat for flavour. No one likes the bitter taste of burnt onion.
  • Garlic – add according to your taste. Can either add it minced of finely chopped.
  • Tomato – not too much tomato is required. If you don’t have fresh tomato, use tomato puree – about ¼ cup.
  • Water – for cooking the urad dal
  • Green Chilies – I prefer to use the paste but you can chop it finely and add to the curry.
  • Ginger – use paste or cut it into thin strips
  • Garam Masala – buy ready made or follow this recipe
  • Cumin Seeds – jeera
  • Mustard Seeds – rai
  • Asafetida – also known as hing. Its an optional ingredient
  • Turmeric Powder – haldi, hardar
  • Salt
  • Ghee /Oil – required for stir frying the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli and also for tempering
  • Fresh Coriander – chopped for garnishing. If you don’t have any, omit it.

Dietary Tips:

  • This Curry is Gluten Free if you don’t use asafetida. If you get gluten free asafetida, then use that.
  • For a Vegan Curry, don’t use ghee. Use any oil of your choice.
  • For a Satvik friendly curry, avoid adding onion and garlic. It tastes equally good without it. I tend to add a little more of the ginger.
urad dal 3
urad dal 2

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A healthy creamy curry that goes well with plain rice, Roti or Naan. Urad dal or Split Black Gram Curry is a good way to include plant proteins in your diet.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4


  • 1 cup urad dal split black gram
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 6-8 cloves garlic finely chopped or minced
  • 1 -2 green chillis finely chopped or minced
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled finely chopped or minced
  • 1 medium tomato finely chopped or pureed
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • tsp asafetida optional
  • 1 -1¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 4 -5 cups water

For Tempering:

  • 1 tsp oil or ghee
  • 1 -2 cloves garlic finely sliced
  • 1 dry red chilli


  • Preparation of Urad Dal/Split Black Gram Curry
  • Wash and soak urad dal in 2 cups of warm water for at least 30 minutes.
  • Add the soaked dal with the water into a pressure cooker. Add turmeric powder.
  • Close the pressure cooker properly. Place it over medium heat.
  • Let the dal cook for 3-4 whistles.
  • Allow the pressure cooker to cool down before opening the lid.
  • In another saucepan, heat oil or ghee over medium heat.
  • Add mustard seeds. As soon as they begin to pop, add cumin seeds.
  • Add asafetida if youre using any.
  • Add onion and stir fry till it becomes light brown in colour.
  • Add garlic and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add green chillis and ginger. Stir fry for a minute.
  • Add the tomato and salt.
  • Mix well, cover the pan and allow the tomato to cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the cooked urad dal with the water and also the remaining water.
  • Mash the dal lightly with a masher for a more creamier texture.
  • Mix well. Let it simmer over low to medium heat for 10-15 minutes.
  • Remember to stir is frequently so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add garam masala and mix well.

Preparation of the Tempering:

  • Heat 1 tsp of ghee or oil in a small pan and place it over low heat.
  • Add sliced garlic and stir fry till it begins to turn brown.
  • Add the red chilli, stir fry it and remove the pan off the heat.
  • Add the tempering to the urad dal or curry.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander and serve it hot with rice or roti or naan.


  • Use ginger julienne instead of garlic for temepring.
  • For a thinner curry add more water. We prefer it thick so that it can be scooped up with the roti or naan.
  • Adjust the spices according to your taste.
  • Can make this curry a day ahead and store it in the fridge.
  • If it becomes too thick after storing it, add little water when you heat it.
  • Soaked lentils and beans always cook faster than unsoaked ones.
Keyword curry, gluten free, vegan option, vegetarian

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A little request:

If you do try this recipe then please either

  • add a comment below,
  • send a picture to my email mayuri.ajay.patel62@gmail.com
  •  tag me as #mayuri_jikoni on Instagram
  • or tag me on Twitter as #Mayuri1962


  • 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 🙂

  • Janet G

    January 18, 2021 at 10:41 pm

    5 stars
    Very flavourful and a nice spice kick with the chiles – a must for men husband. Serv ed with brown basmati, a touch of sour cream and topped with cilantro. Will definitely make a again.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      January 19, 2021 at 4:45 pm

      Thank you so much Janet. A wonderful idea to top it with sour cream.

  • Shobha Keshwani

    February 20, 2021 at 1:09 pm

    5 stars
    Dal looks so delicious. I have never cooked dhuli urad dal by itself . It must be tasting awesome with fresh ghee tadka . I love any kind of dal.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 21, 2021 at 11:12 am

      Thanks Shobha, try it. We make it often as and yes with ghee tadka tastes really good.

  • Priya Vj

    February 20, 2021 at 4:44 pm

    5 stars
    Urad dhall curry looks just wow. It is a power house of Nutrition and good health . Saving this recipe right away. My family likes to eat varieties of dal on a regular basis and this recipe will surely help me add it to my weekly menu

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 23, 2021 at 8:24 pm

      Thank you so much Priya. Enjoy, when you try out the recipe and hopefully will become a part of your weekly meal plan.

  • Mina Joshi

    February 22, 2021 at 6:35 pm

    5 stars
    I love your traditional creamy urad dall recipe. I noticed that you tend to do the vaghar and a second tempering with ghee and garlic. This must taste amazing with rotlas and a bit of jaggery. This used to be a regular dish in our home when my in laws were around. You have just reminded me to make it soon.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 22, 2021 at 6:39 pm

      Thank you so much Mina. I like to add the second tempering of ghee and garlic as it makes the dal taste so different. I allow the garlic to get a bit burnt. Try it, am sure you’ll like it.

  • Preethicuisine

    February 24, 2021 at 5:46 am

    5 stars
    Urad dal curry looks scrumptious. I make mixed dal curries but never tried only with urad dal. I am bookmarking your recipe to try it soon. The tempering with ghee and garlic is so flavourful and lip smacking. Lovely recipe.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 24, 2021 at 2:50 pm

      Thank you Preethi, this is one of the dals that my mum made on a weekly basis. The best part is the flavoring from the tempering.

  • Jayashree T.Rao

    February 24, 2021 at 9:04 am

    5 stars
    We use all kind of lentils for dal except this one. These days I am using only the one with skin for dal. I must try your version, looks flavoursome.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 24, 2021 at 2:48 pm

      Thanks Jayashree, please do try this recipe.

  • Chef Mireille

    February 25, 2021 at 5:38 am

    5 stars
    There is nothing that says comfort food more than dal and this one was perfect. So well seasoned yet not too spicy.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 26, 2021 at 4:13 pm

      Thanks Mireille, generally my every day dals are not too spicy but the flavors are there.

  • Sandy Mitchell

    April 24, 2022 at 12:56 pm

    How long do you cook urad dal in a normal pan not a pressure cooker?

    Soak for 30 minutes then cook for how long?

    Sounds great – I make lots of dals.


    1. mayurisjikoni

      April 24, 2022 at 5:18 pm

      Hi Sandy if you cook it in a pan,it will take about 30 minutes to become soft in the simmering mode. Don’t close the lid of the pan fully as the mixture becomes frothy and will spill out. It is done when you can mash it easily.

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