Mamta's Kitchen

Urad Dal Skinless (Split Black Gram Skinless or Washed)

Urad Dal - Dhuli

Reeta Kumar

This dal is very popular in Northern India and is often served with a dry potato curry and chapatties. If you eat lentils regularly, I would recommend buying a pressure cooker. It makes cooking much quicker and easier. The water required and cooking times given here is average Quality of the lentil, softness of water, whether the dal was soaked beforehand (soaked dals take a little less time to cook), the intensity of heat and the efficiency of your pressure cooker etc. all make a difference to cooking time. It will get easier as you cook more dals. Remember that if undercooked, you can cook a dal some more but you can't do much with an overcooked dal. It does not taste bad if overcooked, only it doesn't look so good. Serves 4

Edited December 2019


  • 1 cup urad dal dhuli (split black gram dal, Skinless)

  • 4 cups water (use more if not using pressure cooker)

  • Salt to taste (1-1 1/2 tsp.)

  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder

  • For basic tarka:

  • 2-3 tbsp. ghee or sunflower or olive oil. Ghee tastes better but oil is healthier.

  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds (or 1 tsp. mustard seeds and 10-12 curry leaves*)

  • A large pinch of asafoetida or hing powder

  • 2-3 whole red chillies broken up

  • 1/2 tsp. chilli powder, adjust to taste

  • For onion and tomato tarka

  • 2-3 tbsp. ghee or sunflower or olive oil. Ghee tastes better but oil is healthier.

  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds

  • 2-4 dry red chillies

  • A large pinch of asafoetida or hing powder

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped or sliced

  • 1 inch piece ginger root, peeled and shredded/grated

  • 1-2 tomatoes, chopped


  1. Wash dal well and soak in water for 10 minutes.

  2. Drain this water off before cooking.

  3. Cooking in Pressure Cooker:

  4. Place the dal, water, salt and turmeric in the pressure cooker and bring to full pressure. Cook under pressure for 8-10 minutes.

  5. Allow pressure cooker to cool before opening. Open the lid and check water. If too thick, add a little boiling water, until it reaches the consistency you desire.

  6. Cooking without a pressure cooker:

  7. Place the dal, 5-6 cups water, salt and turmeric in a pan and bring to boil. Now simmer briskly until tender. You may need to add more water, if the dal begins to look too thick and dry.

  8. Dals, when ready, should be soft but not mashed.

  9. Place in a serving bowl.

  10. Heat ghee or oil in a tarka ladle (this can be bought from an Indian store) or a small pan. Ghee tastes better but oil is fine too.

  11. Add cumin and asafoetida powder and let the seeds start to splutter. *You can use mustard/rai seeds and curry leaves, instead of cumin and asafoetida.

  12. Add whole chillies and chillies powder, stir quickly with a spoon, don’t let it burn.

  13. Add to the cooked dal and cover with a lid immediately. This will infuse the flavours into the dal.

  14. Other variations of Basic tarka or tempering:

  15. After spluttering the cumin/mustard seeds, add a little grated ginger and/or garlic to the hot oil, fry until beginning to turn golden brown. Add chillies and chilli powder. Now add to the dal. Or

  16. After spluttering the cumin/mustard seeds, add one chopped onion, 1 tsp. each of grated ginger and garlic, and fry until browned. Add 1 tsp. curry powder or sambhar powder and 2 chopped tomatoes. Fry a little longer, until oil separates, and add to dal.

  17. Onion and tomato tarka

  18. Heat oil in a pan.

  19. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida/hing. When seeds splutter, add whole red chillies, ginger and chopped onion. Fry until medium brown.

  20. Add chilli powder and tomatoes. Fry until tomatoes are softened.

  21. Pour the dal in and close the lid, to allow the flavours to infuse. After 10 minutes or so, stir it in.

  22. Stir in chopped coriander leaves, if using. Also sprinkle a few on top as a garnish

  23. Serve hot with Chapatties and Boiled Rice.

  24. Also see Dal Selection.


  • Overcooked or leftover dal can be added to roti or chapatti flour when making a dough. This makes delicious roti and paratha.

  • The amount of dal required per person depends on whether you are serving the dal with roti or with rice. Rice requires more dal.

  • You can add chopped coriander leaves to all dals as a garnish.

  • Healthy-option:

  • Use only 1 tsp olive oil for tarka or tempering.

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