Spicy Urad Dal (Black Gram Lentil Dal)


Spicy Urad Dal – a simple but delicious vegan Indian daal recipe with black gram lentils in a fragrant Indian gravy that makes for the perfect comfort food dish to add to your weeknight or weekend dinner rotation. Gluten-free.

spicy urad dal served over rice with some lime slices and sprinkled with cilantro

This spicy urad dal is the perfect dish to spice up a simple weeknight or weekend dinner.

You will love this dish not just for the mouthwatering blend of spices and depth of flavor but also for its heartiness. Serve it with roti, flatbread, brown rice or white rice or cauliflower rice and a simple plant-based curry or a spices veggie side for a nutritious meal that will have everyone licking their plates clean.

spicy ural dal served with rice

Let’s talk about dal for a moment.

Most Indian chefs have a half a dozen or so lentils in their pantry, each with a distinct flavor and texture. But types you’ll find most commonly used in dal recipes are chana dal (Bengal gram dal(split brown chickpea)), tuvar dal (split pigeon peas), masoor dal (split red lentils), moong dal (split green mung beans), and urad dal (split black gram/split black lentils). You can see all the Indian and English names and pictures of the Dals here

Like many dal recipes, this spicy urad dal starts with boiling the lentils to the preferred tenderness (I do this in a pressure cooker but you can do it on the stovetop as well, see notes). To get the flavors going we incorporate a method called tempering, or tadka, the process of heating oil and adding a few spices to it. Here, we add whole cloves, cumin and bay leaves.

urad dal in a black skillet

What is Urad Dal?

Urad dal are split, black urad or black lentils (vigna mungo) . These are not the same as the beluga lentils you might have at home. You can use urad dal without skin or a with skin in this recipe, but you definitely want to use the split kind. White/beige is the type without skin, the other will be black on one side. Urad dal is also lower carb among the dals. Whole Urad or whole black gram is used to make Dal makhani. You can use those here as well, just make sure to co them long enough. (40 minutes in instant pot).

You can also use the petite yellow lentils – moong dal which is split green mung beans. Or use red lentils. The naming in various stores varies and yellow lentils can be round or the long ones. The long ones are moong dal. See pictures on myDals post to find the right dals.

This year I plan to make a lot more Indian food and introduce you to variety of dishes that you won’t always find in Indian restaurants. Restaurants keep a limited popular items menu but there’s so much more in Indian cuisine! If you try any of these recipes do leave a review on the recipe post!

spicy urad dal served in a white bowl

More Vegan Dal Recipes:

Spicy Urad Dal

Spicy Urad Dal – a simple but delicious vegan Indian daal recipe with black gram lentils in a fragrant Indian gravy that makes for the perfect comfort food dish to add to your weeknight or weekend dinner rotation. Gluten-free Soyfree Nutfree

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time30 mins

Total Time40 mins

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Indian

Keyword: lentil recipes vegan, spicy dal

Servings: 4

Calories: 185kcal

Author: Vegan Richa

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (150 g) Urad dal (split black gram lentils) or use moong dal
  • 1.5 cups (354.88 ml) water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the tempering:

  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder or use 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 teaspoon cayenne or Indian red chili powder optional
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large ripe tomato chopped about 3/4 cup

For finishing:

  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 hot green chili such as Indian chili, thai chili or serrano finely chopped or you can also use mild green chili like Anaheim (use only about a tablespoon chopped or a tablespoon of finely chopped green bell pepper)
  • cilantro and lemon juice for garnish

Instructions

  • Soak the dal in hot water for at least 15 minutes. Ideally, soak for 30 minutes.

  • Once soaked, drain and add to an instant pot with the water and salt and pressure cook for 5 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.

  • To cook it on the stove top, add the dal, 2 cups of water, and salt to a saucepan and cook over medium heat, partially covered for 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender to preference.

  • Make the tempering: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and wait for it to get hot.

  • Add the cumin seeds and cook until the seeds change color and get very fragrant. They will sizzle and continue to change color. Then add in the cloves and bay leaves and mix. Then add in the ground spices and mix in.

  • Then add in the onion and garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix really well and continue to cook until the onion is golden brown.

  • Add in the tomato and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the tomatoes are saucy. Add in a splash of water if the tomatoes are not juicy enough and if they start to stick to the skillet. This will take 5 to 7 minutes.

  • Mash the larger pieces. Add in the cooked dal (lentils) along with the cooking liquid and mix well and simmer until the dal reaches desired consistency. The dal keeps thickening as it sits so you do want a little bit of extra liquid in there.

  • Taste and adjust salt and flavor and add in the minced ginger and the green chili and a dash of lime or lemon juice and take off heat. Garnish with cilantro. Serve over rice, roti, flatbread, or naan.

Notes

  • This dal can be made khada (just cooked so the lentils are not broken down) as well as creamy where the lentils are cooked till they break down into a creamy mix. Cook longer for creamy and leas for separated lentil texture
  • You can use either urad dal without skin or a with skin but definitely use the split kind. You can also use the petite yellow lentils, which is moong dal which is split green mung beans)
  • for spicier, add 2 dried red chilies or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes with the bat leaves
  • For Oilfree : dry toast the cumin seeds on a skillet over medium heat. Then add in some broth and bay leaves and cloves and continue with the rest of the step adding broth as needed for sautéing 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts

Spicy Urad Dal

Amount Per Serving

Calories 185
Calories from Fat 27

% Daily Value*

Fat 3g5%

Saturated Fat 1g6%

Sodium 349mg15%

Potassium 170mg5%

Carbohydrates 27g9%

Fiber 6g25%

Sugar 4g4%

Protein 11g22%

Vitamin A 588IU12%

Vitamin C 10mg12%

Calcium 40mg4%

Iron 2mg11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Ingredients:

  • Urad dal – black daal soaked in hot water
  •  whole spices: cumin seeds, cloves and bay leaves are tempered in some oil to get the flavors going
  • then we add ground spices to the tempering: ground coriander, red chili powder, and paprika as well as turmeric
    and black pepper
  • chopped onion and minced garlic are added to the mix
  • tomato and water is being added to make that delicious fragrant sauce
  • minced ginger and fresh green chili are added to the finished daal along with a dash of lime or lemon juice

Tips:

  • This dal can be made khada (just cooked so the lentils are not broken down) as well as creamy where the lentils are cooked till they break down into a creamy mix. Cook longer for creamy and leas for separated lentil texture
  • You can use either urad dal without skin or a with skin but definitely use the split kind.
  • You can also use the petite yellow lentils, which is moong dal which is split green mung beans)

ingredients needed for making urad dal recipe

How to make Spicy Urad Dal:

black gram being soaked in warm water

Soak your dal in hot water for at least 15 minutes. Ideally, soak for 30 minutes.

Once soaked, drain and add to an instant pot with the water and salt and pressure cook for 5 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. To cook it on the stovetop, add the dal, 2 cups of water, and salt to a saucepan and cook over medium heat, partially covered for 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender to preference.

cumin, bay leaves and cloves being tempered in oil

Make the tempering : Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and wait for it to get hot.

Add the cumin seeds and cook until the seeds, change color and get very fragrant. They will sizzle and continue to change color. Then add in the cloves and bay leaves and mix. Then add in the ground spices and mix in.

ground spices being added to tempering to make ural dal

Then add in the onion and garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

chopped red onion being added to tempering to make ural dal

Mix really well and continue to cook until the onion is golden brown.

fried onion cubes with spices in a skillet

fried onions with Indian spices in a black skillet

fresh tomatoes being added to skillet with onions and spices

Add in the tomato and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the tomatoes are saucy. Add in a splash of water if the tomatoes are not juicy enough and if they start to stick to the skillet. This will take 5 to 7 minutes.

fresh tomates, onions and spices in a black skillet

Mash the larger pieces. Add in the cooked dal (lentils) along with the cooking liquid and mix well and simmer until the dal reaches desired consistency. The dal keeps thickening as it sits so you do want a little bit of extra liquid in there.

base for urad dal

cooked black gram being added to tempering in a skillet

Taste and adjust salt and flavor and add in the minced ginger and the green chili and a dash of lime or lemon juice and take off heat.

urad dal in a black skillet

Garnish with cilantro. Serve over rice, roti, flatbread, or naan.

green chile and garlic being added to ural dal in a black skillet

What to serve with spicy Urad Dal

With any Dal a side a spiced veggies pair best. Along with some fresh basmati rice or roti flatbread. Try some Gobi aloo (cauliflower potatoes), bhindi masala (okra), cabbage, poriyal (spiced green bean carrot ) .

Spicy urad daal served with rice



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