Urad Tamatar Dal | Urad Dal with Tomatoes

A favourite of our family

Urad Tamatar Dal | Urad Dal with Tomatoes

Urad, that black skin lentil, wonderfully creamy coloured under the skin, is a hard dal that takes a Life (Time) of Cooking (haha). Seriously, it does take a while to cook.

Most people know Urad through Dal Makhani. There are at least three versions here. One came from Nilgiris Restaurant, that iconic Indian restaurant in Sydney. One was given by the chef at the Oberoi in Bangalore. And the last one was given by a young man working at an Indian grocery. He recited it from memory, and it is very simple but rich in flavour.

Are you looking for similar Dal recipes? Try Urad Dal with Onions Four Ways, Simple Monk’s Dal, Urad with Tomato, Coconut and Coriander, Urad Dal Sundal, and Urad Dal Garlic Rice. Or try Moolangi Tovve (Daikon Dal).

Browse all of the Urad recipes and our Indian recipes. Check out our Indian Essentials. Our Dal dishes are here. Or explore and be inspired by our easy Late Autumn recipes.


Urad Tamatar Soup

Urad is a favourite in the Punjab. However, this recipe is an adaptation of a Rajastani recipe, where chilli and asafoetida powder are essential ingredients of any urad recipe. It takes a while to cook, but very little attention during that time. Good for Sunday Afternoon At Home cooking.

It is another gentle dal recipe. We thrust so many robust flavours at our tastebuds every day, from strong black coffee to salty foods, to hot spicy foods, to tangy lemony dressings, to peppery pasta sauces, and so it goes on … and on … To find gentle dishes like this one and pay attention to the subtle flavourings is a very different way of eating.


Urad Tamatar Soup

This is a good, simple dal of medium consistency. Good served with rice and yoghurt. Add a small salad. Alternatively, thin it down slightly and eat as a soup. Yum.

Urad Tamatar Dal | Urad Dal with Tomatoes

0.66 cup split urad dal, without skins
6 cups water (1.5 litres)
0.5 tspn turmeric
3 Tblspn ghee – use vegetable oil for a vegan dish
3 medium tomatoes, each cut into 8 – 10 pieces
1.25 tspn salt
2 Tblspn finely chopped coriander/cilantro

for tadka
1.5 tspn finely chopped or minced ginger
1.5 tspn cumin seeds
1 – 2 whole red dried chillies broken into bits
pinch asafoetida powder

Wash the urad dal under running water for several minutes, and drain.

Place the water, turmeric and a dab of the ghee into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the dal and bring back to the boil.

Reduce the heat to moderately-low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the tomatoes. Cover and continue cooking for  1 hour or until the dal is soft and fully cooked. Remove from the heat and add the salt. Stir well.

Heat the ghee in a small pan over moderately high heat. Add the ginger root, cumin seeds and red chilli. Fry until the cumin and chilli turn brown. Add the asafoetida powder, sauté for 2 seconds and then quickly pour the tadka into the dal. Stir the dal, cover and allow to sit for 1 – 2 minutes.

Add the coriander, stir and serve. Nice with rice.


Urad Tamatar Dal | Urad Dal with Tomatoes

recipe notes and alternatives
[2020 UPDATE] 12 years after I first made this dish, we are still loving it. In the dish above I have used the same recipe but made it with pantry and freezer staples. I cooked the urad in a home made vegetable stock (freezer), used some passata that was in the pantry instead of the tomatoes, added some ridge gourd and finely chopped greens from the freezer. Hearty! Delicious!

Urad Dal with Tomatoes and Purslane

In this version we added garlic cloves and purslane.



26 thoughts on “Urad Tamatar Dal | Urad Dal with Tomatoes”

  1. This is a gorgeous recipe! I have some urad dal, and will try it!

    Is urad dal what Punjabi call kali dal? I had it at my friend’s house – loved it.

    Great! let me know how it goes. Yes, it could be kali dal. The dish you had could have been dal makhani?

  2. This shall be our dinner tonight.

    I’ll let you know how the ‘mindful’ technique goes, too.

    I would love to hear. Right now, my neighbour is using an outdoor blower to blow all the leaves away and it is blocking every other noise….

  3. I’ve never tried to make a dal with skinless urad dal before. Will do so soon!

    Hi Vani, oh I had thought this was much more common. Funny how you make assumptions sometimes and they are completely wrong. let me know what you think once you have tried it.

  4. now i knw where to lookwhn iamsearching fordal recipe,..nice post…:-)specially urad dal recipe.//

    Thank you notyet100. Urad dal is little known in the west – but it is so good.

  5. I love the Focus today. 🙂

    And you new index! (I have had one in making for ages, but have so far only managed to do Recipes by Origin).

    Thank you – it is a beauty, isnt it? My index has been around for ages, but I recently renamed it! Since renaming, it gets a lot more attention.

  6. Oh, I am always on the lookout for dal recipes. I must try this. Thanks for posting!

    On my pleasure. This is a real gem of a dal, so gentle and golden.

  7. The soup is BEAUTIFUL.

    Thank you.

    As for the meditation…it’s not bad. My mind races like crazy, railing against the effort, but I must say, it’s incredible to listen, closely, and pull back the layers of sound. I’m beginning to enjoy the process. Shall update as the efforts continue!

    I laughed at your loud neighbour – I have a jack hammer and cement truck working just across the road right now…ha!

    Hi Lucy, I am SO glad that you love the soup. How very gentle-warm-the-bottom-of-your-soul soup it is. Oh the mind-racing-like-crazy trick. Yes, that is the point of meditation (well, one of the points), to train the mind to be focused. I love the noise meditation, and was using it on my walk yesterday when all I wanted to hear was the parrots. The noise of the many many roads around here faded away.

  8. I have a bag of split urad dal that has been sitting in my pantry for a while. I’ve decided it’s finally time to cook it, so I’m scouring the food blogs for ideas. Will be trying this sometime this week. Thanks for a great post!

    My pleasure, Nicole. I hope it was most delicious.

  9. Hi, this is a lovely recipe and its a great blog that you have too 🙂 I was just going to try this recipe and was wondering that did I miss when the tomato is added to the dal. I was not able to find that step in the recipe 😦

    Oops! sorry about that. I will add the step shortly. Great that you picked up the mistake. And thanks for your lovely comments.

    [Updated: All fixed now.]

  10. I tried this recipe last night (although with urad dal with the skins ON, oh well) and it was fantastic. I just finished off the last spoonful of it cold, and wanted to thank you for sharing the recipe! My husband and I both found it delicious; it was simple to make but very good flavor. I will be making it again! I try a lot of Indian recipes from the blogs – I am a vegan looking for variety – and sometimes they don’t turn out so well. Bookmarking this blog!

  11. That’s a new ingredient for me. Will try to source it in Hobart where I live. My husband just found it in a Thermomix Vegetarian cookbook in a recipe for dosa. : )

  12. This looks glorious!
    I have a jar of skinned urad dal that has been giving me dirty looks for months because I haven’t cooked with it in a while… I’m going to give this a go at the weekend and maybe throw in some kale that I have hanging around in my fridge.

  13. Had been staring at urad dal in the Indian market for some time but the only recipe I had for it was a dry dish and I wasn’t too interested. I found a ripped bag in the store the other day and, rather than throwing it away, the cashier gave me the 4 lb bag.

    I’ll be fixin’ this for tonight’s din-din. Much appreciated and look forward to exploring your blog (maybe I’ll find a rice recipe…if not, probably fix this with some cumin fried rice or a nut and raisin pulao).

  14. I only have skin on split urad dal. I think it will work though. I also don’t have asoefetida. Most asoefetida on the market has gluten in it too, so I just have to do without it. I’m kind of glad though, because wow that stuff is pungent!

    1. Hi Darque, yes, use the urad that you have. It will be darker but just as yummy.

      I must check the gluten issue, just in case, for some g-intolerant friends.

      Instead, add half an onion, diced, and a clove of garlic, chopped, when you add the tomatoes.

  15. What beautiful photographs and recipes.
    Have never been so enraptured with a website. Will spend much time exploring.

  16. This is the lovely, you notice a lot. You definitely put a new spin on a subject thats been written about before. Great stuff, simply nice!

  17. I simply Love urad dal…I learnt to make it from my mother. She uses a similar recipe as yours but skips turmeric and adds loads of asafoetida (about half a teaspoon). I love that preparation too.

    Ips: Try soaking the urad daal for atleast 3-4 hours to reduce cooking time. I use a pressure cooker to cook the dal and I am done cooking within 20 mins ! Oh, and if using pressure cooker, add chopped/grated tomatoes along with dal , water, ghee and salt together and cook. Temper it when cooked.

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