Urad Tamatar Dal | Urad Dal with Tomatoes

Urad Tamatar Soup

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

It took me a while to understand urad dal. I first bought some split unskinned urad, because I liked the black and whiteness of it. It sat in a wonderful glass jar in my kitchen causing much comment from people. Then I discovered the creamy coloured skinned dal that produces a much better colour when cooked. Black dal looks a bit funny when you cook with it :-(.

The first recipe I cooked with urad was a dal makhani. I must post that one day – I have three versions, all different but all very delish. One came from Nilgiris Restaurant, that iconic Indian restaurant in Sydney. One was given to me by the chef at the Taj in Bangalore, because they make an awesome dal makhani and I just had to have the recipe. And the last one was given to me by the young guy who serves at Indian Baazar here in Adelaide. He recited it to me from memory, and it is very simple. Yet it is full and rich in flavour.

Yesterday I was talking to my Punjabi Abhyanga therapist. He told me that urad dal is a favourite in Punjabi.

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. I am loving my experiments with gentle Indian cooking – 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 …

There is a Buddhist technique to teach awareness and mindfulness. Here it is. It is good to do last thing at night or first thing in the morning before you open your eyes.

Lie down with your eyes closed. Listen to the sounds around you. Take notice of each sound and the things that you can hear. Birds, maybe. Your next door neighbour. Some building works. Traffic.

Then think of those sounds as only a layer of sounds. Putting those sounds in the background, listen for the next layer of sounds. These might be sounds from further away. A house or two away. The next road. Kids playing in the park. Birds further away.

Repeat. Pack these sounds into a layer and listen for sounds further out. Repeat with sounds further away. Repeat – still further away.

It is astounding what we can hear and how far we can hear, and the different perspective we get on our surroundings and neighbourhood.

And so it is with this gentle dal. Listen for the first tastes. Explore. Go further into the dal. Listen for other tastes. Keep your awareness going deeper into the tastes and discovering the layers, the depth of the taste.

It is astounding what we can taste.

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

Source : inspired by Lord Krishna’s Cuisine
Cuisine: Anglo-Indian
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 1.5 hrs
Serves: 4 – 6 people, depending how you use it

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 or parsley

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

Sort out any foreign material from the urad dal, wash under running water for several minutes, and drain the split urad dal.

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 parsley or coriander, stir and serve. Nice with rice.

[UPDATE: this has since become a favourite of my daughter. Every time I visit I have to make bucket loads of it.]

The Urad Dal Series

About Ganga108

Heat in the Kitchen, Cooking with Spirit. Temple junkie, temple builder, temple cleaner. Lover of life, people, cultures, travel. Champion of growth, change and awareness. Taker of photos. Passionate about family. Happy.
This entry was posted in 12 Early Summer, Indian, Lentils - Grains - Rice - Nuts, Soups, Spices and Herbs, Sunday Afternoon at Home Cooking, Tomatoes, Vegan, VEGETARIAN and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Urad Tamatar Dal | Urad Dal with Tomatoes

  1. Maninas says:

    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. Lucy says:

    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. Vani says:

    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. notyet100 says:

    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. oh i would love to try this! sounds very flavourful.

    Hi diva. Thanks for visiting. Do hope that you try it, it is so perfectly wonderful.


  6. Maninas says:

    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.


  7. Niamh says:

    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.


  8. Lucy says:

    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.


  9. Maninas says:

    no, it was definitely not dal makhani. it had one type of beans only, and it was fairly simple.


  10. Nicole says:

    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.


  11. Geetha says:

    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.]


  12. Maninas says:

    I bought Lord Krishna’s Cuisine recently, and I love it. Wonderful book.

    You are SO going to love it!


  13. Rosalind Whitley says:

    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!


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  15. shilpa says:

    This is a wonderful recipe which is very easy to cook.


  16. Mary E says:

    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. : )


  17. Sophie says:

    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.


  18. Mason says:

    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).


  19. missdarque says:

    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!


    • Ganga108 says:

      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.


  20. Salina Tighe says:

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


  21. sudha says:

    not a regular food blogger..but stumbled into ur space during a search for some punjabi food…lovely!!!!!


  22. Sal says:

    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!


  23. Neha says:

    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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