June 1, 2010

Gujarati-Style Urad Daal

gujarati urad dal

lasan urad 2

This recipe was requested by Max- A reader with an inspiring passion for Gujarati food.

Prepare yourselves to be psychologically transported to Gujarat with this hearty daal dish. Urad daal (also known as black gram) are used all over India, in a huge variety of dishes. They make hearty lunch or dinner stews in Northern and Western India, whereas they grace the breakfast tables of South Indian homes in their skinned-split form. These lentils are so versatile; they can be used whole, split or ground to make curries, soups, steamed savoury cakes (idlis) and even those notoriously delicious lentil pancakes (dosa).

The earthy, iron-richness of the whole lentils make a traditional and popular meal for peasant workers on Indian farms, and can be served with a variety of breads like naan, chapattis and rotla, and also plain basmati rice. Add plenty of butter or ghee at your will (and mine), although this will not be necessary to add creaminess to the dish. When cooked, urad daal bleed a thick, glutinous liquid which will make your finished dish rich, creamy and thoroughly delicious. Butter or ghee will give your urad daal a beautiful flavour which marries delightfully with the spiciness of the dish.

Some Hindus believe that urad daal should be traditionally made into a stew like this on Saturday, for Saturday represents the day of the monkey god, Lord Hanuman. Lord Hanuman is worshipped each week on this day, and belief has it that he gathered his otherworldly strength from eating such lentils. Urad daal is packed with vitamins, protein and iron, so move over Popeye- Hanuman’s in town and he brings with him the strength of one thousand elephants, and karahi’s full of spicy urad daal!

lasan urad

Gujarati-Style Urad Daal
(Serves 4 people as a main dish or 6 as a starter or side)


1 ¼ cups whole urad daal, soaked in warm water for 2-4 hours
3 cups hot water (or more to cook the lentils if you don’t have a pressure cooker)
1 ½ tbsp garlic, minced
4-5 hot green chillies, minced (or to taste)
1 tbsp ginger, minced
½ cup tomatoes, pureed
2 tbsp ghee (plus more for serving- optional) or oil for a vegan option
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
8-10 curry leaves
¼ tsp asafoetida (optional)
½ tsp turmeric
1 ½ tsp salt (or to taste)
½ tsp dried, powdered sour mango (amchur) or 1 tbsp lemon juice
Extra 2-3 cups hot water
½ cup fresh coriander, chopped


1. Boil the urad daal in plenty of water until just past the al dente stage (they need to be quite soft to ooze that glutinous liquid). If you have a pressure cooker, use 3 cups of water and wait for about 10 whistles. Set this aside.

2. In a large pan, heat the ghee (or oil for a vegan option) and add the mustard seeds. Wait for them to pop, and then add the cumin seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida.

3. Quickly add the tomatoes, garlic, ginger and chillies. Cook this mixture out on a medium heat for around 5 minutes. Add the turmeric and cook for a further minute.

4. Add the cooked urad daal and mix thoroughly. Add around 2-3 cups of hot water and stir constantly for -2 minutes to gain a glutionous, creamy consistency.

5. Add salt and amchur powder or lemon and taste for seasoning. Stir in the coriander and serve hot with lashings of butter or ghee.

lasan urad 3

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36 responses to “Gujarati-Style Urad Daal”

  1. Priya says:

    Wat a nutritious and healthy urad dal..

  2. Anonymous says:

    Mmm yummy recipe, tooo good, makes me want some NOW. 😛

    Nice write up – fun and inormative.

    Loving it,loving it.
    Keep up the good work Sanjana.

  3. Cool Lassi(e) says:

    Hey, nice recipe. I made something similar to this last week…but with green gram and squash. Lovely and healthy recipe!

  4. Jennifer@womanvfood says:

    We ate this all the time in Haryana! Thank you for posting, if I ever get 'homesick' for India I can make this now…I wasn't exactly sure on the ingredients before. We had some sort of daal every day but this was one of my favorites. 🙂

  5. julie says:

    This sounds delicious! What is asafoetida? I hadn't heard of it before. Thanks for sharing!

    • RAJA says:

      Asafoetida is also know as ‘Hing’ in Indian supermarkets (pronounce Heeng) or, in English, as devil’s dung – a popular ingredient in Indian cuisine that can be and often is used as a surrogate for garlic.

  6. The Housewife says:

    Sanjana that dal looks so yumm! I could eat it like a soup without rotis or rice..of course that dollop of butter always helps! 🙂

  7. Shree says:

    Yummm! Great Photo Sanjana. Love gujju dal 🙂

  8. Jay says:

    wat a yummy curry to go with lovely chapati…loved your neat presentation.

  9. Nithu Bala says:

    Wonderful presentation..the curry is so delicious and healthy..

  10. Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal says:

    Sanjana, I bookmarked it and am surely making it, that is how lovely it looks and sounds 🙂

  11. AshKuku says:

    VERY ENTICING!!!!! Loved the pictures of a perfectly prepared luscious dal….. Hmmm…. Dal ke kitne saare varieties & their variations in prep….. AMAZING!!!!


  12. Kanchan says:

    Never prepared any Dal with just the URAD , loved this Dal looks too delicious ! Bookmarked – will surely give it a try.

  13. rekhas kitchen says:

    Lovely dal recipe Sanjana looks delicious….

  14. Happy Cook says:

    Wowow just beautifull and so so delcious looking.

  15. Mr. P says:

    Adding this to my list as well. It's completely different to the version I've made before.

    Did you make the roti yourself? I can never get them so round!

  16. Aletta says:

    Hi from Cape Town. Love discovering new vegetarian blogs. And I simply love dahl and have never seen this version. Is urud dahl like a brown lentil? Trying to find a version in Cape Town that will work for this recipe.

  17. Frank says:

    This looks yummy! And I love the deep, rich color. Wondering if brown lentils would be an adequate substitute for urad daal?

  18. Apu says:

    Oh this looks simply delicious!!

  19. saint Bapu says:

    Dribbling just looking at the lovely photos.great with Bajra na rotla.


  20. notyet100 says:

    looks so yum,..perfect click too

  21. Ju (The Little Teochew) says:

    Brilliant one, dear Sanjana! It's … oh, just what I'd love for brekkie, lunch or dinner. Dhal is addictive. I love how you make vegetarian food look so inviting and appetising.

  22. Jagruti જાગૃતિ says:

    love to have with bajri rotla…!!

  23. Lawyer Loves Lunch says:

    Wandered over from FoodGawker and I'm glad I did. This looks totally delicious 🙂

  24. Sanjana says:

    Hello all- Thank you for the positive comments. They really do help in keeping me motivated!

    Aletta & Frank- Urad dal is a type of black gram, not brown. The lentil is double the size of a mung bean and incredibly rich. You can use any lentil in place of urad dal in this recipe. However, the taste and texture will be completely different. Having said this, the same method and ingredients can be used with any whole lentil. Urad dal is avaliable in any Indian grocery store if you happen to live near one.

    P- I can make rounder rotlis than that! :p

  25. Trix says:

    Yum. At the risk of sounding stupid, I have had lentils sort of like this (yours dish looks/sounds better) but never with the ghee on top. I can just imagine how that would take it to a whole new, creamy place. What a great meal this is!

  26. Jhonny walker says:

    Hey Sanjana,

    I love this one..one of my favorite way of making urad 🙂

  27. Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets says:

    Just made this for dinner, Sanjana, and it was delicious :). The only thing is that it was a little too spicy for me. I thought I was pretty tolerant of heat, but it looks like I got nothing on Indian food hehe. Thanks for a great recipe!

  28. Sanjana says:

    Xiaolu- Ahh so sorry you found it spicy! I've gotten used to eating hot food and now my idea of medium hot is fluctuating! Perhaps try adding the chillies at the end of cooking an Indian dish next time? Then you can add and taste as you go along? Hope that helps and that the urad was nice- minus the super spiciness!

  29. meeso says:

    Oooooh yeah! Bookmarked 🙂

  30. Radhika says:

    Receipe is really fantastic all in correct proportions. I cooked it and was loved by all.

  31. saba says:

    yummy recipe,i tried it today turned out to be delicious…:-)

  32. Gustavus says:

    Excellent! But the broth remained a bit watery. Any ideas why? I added only 2 cups of water at the end, and then another cup as it was seemed a bit dry.

  33. […] week’s Indian meal consisted of Gujarati style urad dal (upper left) and ridge gourd curry (lower left),  pumpkin curry (upper right), and […]

  34. […] up, I was reared on Gujarati Urad Daal rather than the richer Punjabi version of black gram lentils more popular on restaurant menus […]

  35. nice one mate. please share some more.

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