Urad dal is a lentil that suits long slow cooking and a smoky flavour. With a little work, a covered BBQ will cope with cooking a dish like Slow Braised Lentils slowly for several hours.
This recipe will work in an oven too, no worries. But the joys of cooking outside are enormous so on sunny days, take your lentils outside.
Ma ki Dal, Ma di Dal | Mother’s Lentils | Kaali Dal Slow Cooked in a Covered BBQ
Prep time:10 mins
Cooking time: 4 hours in a covered BBQ
Serves: 3-4 people, depending how you use it. You can double the recipe to serve more. It freezes well without the cream.
1.5 cups whole black gram dal with skin on (urad dal)
1/2 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1.25 cm piece ginger, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 green chillies, chopped
1 bunch fresh green coriander
1/2 Tblspn cumin powder
1/2 Tblspn coriander powder
1/2 Tblspn garam masala
1/2 tspn turmeric
1/2 tspn chilli powder, or more, to taste
6 cups water
3 – 4 ripe tomatoes
1/2 tspn mustard oil
1/4 cup heavy cream or yoghurt (optional)
1 Tblspn butter for garnish (optional)
chopped onions for garnish
chopped tomatoes for garnish
First saute the onion, chilli, garlic and ginger in a pan until the onion is just browning. Then grind them to a paste with half of the green coriander in the food processor. Set aside.
Puree the tomatoes in the food processor.
Select an oven proof pot with a lid that you are comfortable putting into the BBQ. Test that it fits into the BBQ before you put ingredients into it. If it does not have a lid, you can use foil.
Place the urad dal into the pot, then the onion garlic paste, chilli powder, tomatoes, cumin, coriander powder, salt, turmeric, and water go into the oven proof pot. I used a terracotta pot which I covered with foil.
Place a little foil on the BBQ Grill (do not cover all of the grill area, this is dangerous. Place it just under where your pot will go). The foil lessens the direct heat onto the pot.
Place the roasting rack onto the BBQ. I turned it upside down to be able to fit my pot into the BBQ.
Light the BBQ and put on the lowest setting. Put the pot onto the rack and close the BBQ cover.
Watch the temperature on your BBQ. With mine, I found that it crept up towards 150C – 200C, while the lentils needed to cook at around 150C or a little less. This meant that each half hour I wandered out, opened the cover briefly to let the heat out, and then closed the cover again. You could also prop the cover open a little to regulate the temperature.
After about 3 hours, check the dal, add water if necessary (I didn’t need to), the mustard oil and garam masala. Stir, replace the lid and close the BBQ cover again.
At 4 hours, I turned off the BBQ and allowed it to continue cooking in the residual heat for about 30 mins.
Add the cream and butter, and garnish with the tomato and onion or spring onion.
Serve with rice, an onion salad and yoghurt.
See the Ma Ki Dal recipe for the original recipe.
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