It has been a while since I posted an Urad recipe. Urad is one of my favourite lentils, comforting and nourishing, and used a lot in the Punjab region. It is easy to cook with, especially if you know and respect its properties.
This dish is a cousin of Dal Makhani, using yoghurt instead of butter and cream, and whole urad rather than split urad dal.
And what a stunner! This is a slow cooked dish – taking around 5 hours – but they are effortless hours. No need to do more than the odd stir or two.
Alternatively, explore all of our Dal Makhani and similar recipes. Or browse Punjabi recipes. We have a range of different Urad recipes and Rajma (Kidney Bean) recipes. You might also like to check out the Madhur Jaffrey recipes that we love. Oh and our Dal recipes are here. All of our Indian recipes are here. Or take some time to browse our Mid Autumn dishes.
Whole Unhulled Urad and Rajma Dal | Urad Lentils and Kidney Beans Dal
85 g whole urad lentils, cleaned and washed
85 g Rajma (Red Kidney Beans) or whole unhulled Mung beans, rinsed
1 cm fresh ginger, peeled and sliced, PLUS another 1 cm piece peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
5 Tblspns Indian/Desi Yoghurt, or use Greek yoghurt
pinch Indian Chilli Powder (or use Cayenne powder)1.75 – 2 tspns salt, or to taste
large pinch freshly ground black pepper
3 Tblspn ghee
1 medium onion, cut in half and then sliced thinly
coriander leaves (optional)
pinch asafoetida powder
1 tspn cumin seeds
2 dried chillies
Combine the urad beans and kidney beans in a very heavy bottomed saucepan. Add 1.1 litres water, the sliced ginger and the garlic cloves. Bring to the boil and cover, lower the heat and simmer gently for 4.5 hours, stirring every hour or so. Add water if needed.
When the lentils and beans have been cooking for 4.5 hours, lift the lid and mash the urad and rajma well against the sides of the pot with the back of a kitchen spoon.
Put the yoghurt in a small bowl. Beat it well with a fork (to prevent curdling).
Pour the yoghurt into the dal, stirring as you add. Add the cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir, bring to the boil, cover, lower heat and simmer for another 30 minutes.
Heat the oil or ghee in a 20cm frying pan. When hot, put in the sliced onion. Fry, stirring over medium high flame for about 5 minutes, then put in the grated ginger and fry it along with the onions for 1 more minute or until the onions are brown and crisp. Remove onions and ginger with a slotted spoon and put aside.
Add the asafoetida, cumin and chillies to the same oil. When they darken (almost immediately), turn off the heat and pour the contents of the frying pan into the pot with the lentils. Cover pot again and leave until you are ready to serve.
To serve: mix the dal and ladle it into warm serving bowl. Sprinkle onions and ginger over the top. Also garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves, if desired.
Eat on its own, or with vegetable dishes, naan and pickled onions!
recipe notes and alternatives
Use a hand held immersion blender to coarsely mash the dal, but be careful – don’t puree it.