Urad Dal /Split Black Gram Curry)
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
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.
- Pahadi Gahat/ Horse Gram Curry
- Moong Dal Shorba
- Andhra Style Palak Dal
- Panchmel Dal/ Mixed Lentil Dal
- Chooti Mung ni Dar (Dry Moong Dal)
- Tuvar Dal, Gujarati Style
- Moong Dal Tadka
- Dal Makhani
- Spinach Masoor Dal
- Moong and Celery Leaves Soup
- Khatta Moong/Moong Yogurt Curry
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
- 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.
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/SPLIT BLACK GRAM CURRY
- 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
- ⅛ tsp asafetida optional
- 1 -1¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp ghee or oil
- 4 -5 cups water
- 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.
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