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Dry spiced black lentils (Sukhi urad ki dal)

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

Indians are dependent on a large variety of lentils in their diet. This is because it the primary source of protein for a majority of the populations who are vegetarian or too poor to afford meat on a regular basis. This lentil is high in folic acid (important to prevent anemia), calcium (important for bone strength) and phosphorus (make protein for the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues) and is a wonderful natural food. More on this lentil here.

This recipe steps out of the regular soupy dals that Indian food is more known for. This dry recipe has a touch of heat and is tempered with ghee and cumin seeds. Super simple and super delicious.

This book is a follow up to his exhaustive tome on Indian cooking. The recipes, like this one are simpler but turn out delicious.

For more recipes from this cookbook click here.


1 cup dried black lentils, urad dal

2 teaspoons + 3 teaspoons ghee

1 teaspoon ginger paste

1-2 fresh green chiles, minced

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 1/2 cups water, measured

A pinch of asafoetida

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 dried red chiles

Salt to taste

Soak the lentils in water for 2 hours or overnight. Drain and set aside.

Heat 2 teaspoons of the ghee in a pot and add the ginger paste and green chiles. Cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes till the ginger has turned golden. Add the turmeric and saute for 1 minute more.

Add the lentils, salt and water and simmer for about 15 minutes. The water should evaporate almost completely and the lentils should be cooked with a gentle bite. If they are still raw, add 1/4 cup water and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes till almost dry.

In a separate small pot, heat the remaining 3 teaspoons of ghee. Add the cumin seeds and saute till lightly colored, about 20 seconds. Add the asafoetida, it will foam, remove immediately and pour the mix over the cooked lentils. Mix in well. Serve immediately.

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