Urad dal or the black pea is one of the most common dal eaten in the northern parts of India. It has always been my favorite dal. Whole urad dal ( black), normally used to make Dal makhani, is more popular than its split version. Making whole urad dal takes a lot of time, whereas the split urad dal ( Dhuli urad )is quick to make and tastes equally good. We can make it as indulgent as Dal Makhani and in a fraction of time. Today I am sharing my way of making this masala urad dal.
Why try this recipe?
- It is quick and easy
- Buttery and spicy deliciousness
- Gluten free recipe
- Can be made as decadent as you want
- Has an excellent earthy flavor
- Omit butter and you have a vegan version; equally good
So, that next time when you have guests coming over you don’t have to invest hours in making the Dal makhani. This masala urad dal will be a perfect addition to your guest menu.
This is a dry recipe. Normally dals have a more liquid body to them. But this version of Dhuli urad dal is dry. It is spicy, aromatic, and highly flavorful.
There are a few whole species that I am using in this recipe. They totally elevate the flavor of the Dal. But are totally optional except the cumin seeds.
Ideally, Split Urad dal would take more than 2.5 times water. But we do not want any liquid in the finished Dal. Also, we do not want to overcook and make the dal mushy. That is why I have reduced the total quantity of water in this recipe.
Also, we do not want to overcook it to a usual lentil (Dal) softness. Its grain should be well cooked through but still hold its shape.
So, let us dive into this masala urad dal recipe.
Also, check out its elder sister Dal makhani recipe, down below.
Masala Urad Dal
- 2 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- 1 medium sized Onion Finely chopped
- 4-5 cloves Garlic minced
- 1" piece Ginger minced
- 2 ripe Tomatoes pureed
- 1 tablespoon Tomato paste
- Fresh cilantro for garnish
- 1 cup Split Urad dal Dhuli urad dal
- 2 tablespoon Butter
- 2 Bay leaves
- ½ inch stick Cinnamon stick
- 2 Clove
- 3 Greater cardamon Badi Elaichi - 3
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon Black pepper powder
- ½ teaspoon Chilli powder or as per taste
- 1 teaspoon Garam masala
- Salt- as per taste
- Soak dal for half an hour.
- Puree the tomatoes.
- Finely chop the onion, garlic, and ginger.
- In pan heat oil and add cumin and whole spices. (Remove seeds of the greater cardamom and coarsely crust them in a pestle and mortar)
- Add finely chopped onion, garlic, and ginger. Saute at a medium-low flame.
- Once they all start to turn golden brown, quickly reduce the heat to further low and add all the other spices. Give it a quick stir and add 3 tablespoon of water. Take care not to burn the spices.
- Add the tomato paste and tomato Puree. Mix well and cover the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until oil starts to leave the side of the pan.
- Now go ahead and add the soaked lentils. Mix well and cover and cook for a minute.
- Add 2 cups of water and put on the lid. Let it cook for 15-20 minutes. Open the lid and give it a stir every 5 minutes.
- Towards the end check if the dal is cooked by squeezing a grain of dal between your fingers. The dal should be cooked from inside but hold its shape.
- Once the dal is cooked, turn off the flame and add butter. Give it a mix and garnish with fresh cilantro.
- Serve hot with roti or naan.
- You can replace the fresh garlic and ginger with ginger-garlic paste.
- Replace 1 tablespoon of tomato paste with 1 fresh tomato.
- If using a pressure cooker, follow the recipe as it is. Just when you add Dal, put on the lid and cook on high flame till 1 whistle and turn off the flame. Let the pressure release on its own.
- Take care not to overcook the dal, else it will become mushy. We want the grains to be cooked well but retain their shape.
- Replace butter with ghee to give an authentic taste.