Urad Dal

Urad Dal

This is one of the lentil family that is popular across India mainly for its versatile nature. The Black Gram, which, when split and skinned, results in this white coloured Urad dal. Urad dal can be used in combination with other lentils or it can be used as a standalone feature.

The Urad dal is rich in fats, carbohydrates and proteins. It also has fibre, Iron, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin B complex which makes it a very beneficial food for pregnant women also.

Popular for its many uses

The Urad Dal can be used in combination with rice to make a batter. This batter can be used to make Idly (steamed savoury cakes) and Dosa (a flat savoury pancake), two very typical dietary requirements for the entire southern belt of India. Plain urad Dal can be used to make a batter that is used to make Wades (fried lentil cakes).

In its whole gram form, it can be used to make a regular savoury gravy, with a spicy tempering, that can be eaten with rice or chapatis. In its split gram form, it can be used for Dosas, for a gravy dish or for wadas.

Plain white Urad dal is very commonly found in households across India because of its versatile qualities.

Tasty with a difference

Once cooked, Urad dal has a soft consistency and its own slightly nutty flavour is best enhanced with the added spices, vegetables, lentils etc. this dal, in its gravy form, goes well with rice, parathas and chapatis.

There are, of course, many other variations to cooking this particular dal, feel free to experiment and the internet is always there to help you find the best recipe for your palate.

Its special it is Adaptable

Across India there are so many ways to make the quintessential dal that it is really difficult to pick out one special recipe. The most common form of using urad dal is in combination with rice to make batter. But it is an easy to digest and light in weight food that has only benefits for you. The split variety can also be used in conjunction with the yellow Bengal gram or Chana dal to make a very tasty dal preparation which is rich in nutrients but slightly heavy on the digestion. A great gastronomical experience nevertheless.

Given below is a simple yet tasty version of the Urad dal, one which you can modify as per your liking.


Urad Dal

How to Cook Urad Dal

This recipe is simple, easy and fast to prepare. It is highly nutritious and easy on the digestion. You can’t go wrong with this one. A simple tempering which gives it an unusual never forgotten taste. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 3 people


  • Two measures Urad dal (one measure can be about 100 grams)
  • 1 Tablespoon ghee/ clarified butter or any cooking oil
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 3 Red chillies
  • Garlic flakes, finely chopped or grated (use as per your taste)
  • ½ inch piece of Ginger, fine chopped
  • 1 Onion, sliced
  • Green Coriander leaves, fine chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch sugar
  • Water

How to make

  1. Wash your Urad Dal well. Soak in two cups of water for 15-20 minutes.

  2. Take a medium sized wok, put it on the hob or flame

  3. Add half the quantity of ghee or refined cooking oil

  4. Strain soaked dal, keep water aside

  5. Add dal to the wok

  6. Fry till dal turns reddish

Take another wok

  1. Add remaining ghee or oil

  2. Add cumin seeds and wait for it to sizzle or crackle

  3. Add onions, fry till slightly brown

  4. Add garlic and ginger

  5. Add red chilly powder and turmeric

  6. Mix it all up and fry for a minute

  7. Add some of the green coriander and mix 

  8. Add salt to taste

  9. Add pinch sugar

Add the second wok ingredients to the first wok which has the dal. Mix it up nicely and add water.

Cover and cook on simmer for at least 10-15 minutes. Check dal for readiness by squeezing one grain between your fingers. If it is soft and squishy then it’s done.

Pour your urad dal a serving bowl, garnish with chopped green coriander. Serve hot.


Points to remember

  • Soaking the Urad Dal is important because it aids fast cooking. Unsoaked dal will take longer to cook which spoils the flavours of the other spice and condiment added.
  • If you are not comfortable cooking the dal directly in a wok, you could try using a pressure cooker to cook the dal and then add the tempering in the wok.

For pressure cooker cooking, you need to add salt, turmeric and a wee bit of oil to the soaked dal. Do not drain the water. Stand the vessel in which the dal is soaking inside the pressure cooker and put a lid on the vessel. Make sure there is about an inch of water inside the pressure cooker itself. Cook for maybe 2-3 whistles or if you have the non-whistle variety then once pressure builds up, for about 2 minutes, no more or you will have a sticky mess on your hands.

  • Urad dal, by itself does not need pressure cooking. But there are some who prefer that method of cooking.

Nutritive content of Urad Dal

Serving Size: 100gm

Calories 116

  • Total Fat 3g
  • Saturated fat 0g
  • Polyunsaturated fat 0g
  • Monounsaturated fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 79 mg
  • Potassium 2,035m
  • Total Carbohydrate 122g
  • Dietary fibre 38g
  • Protein 52g
  • Calcium 28%
  • Iron 87%
  1. For your two measures of Urad Dal that you cooked the values would be double of what is given. These are approximate values. They would change depending on the oil that you use and if you add anything else to your dal.
  2. Enjoy your meal with a side of cut onions and some green chilies, hot parathas or chapatis and a glass of buttermilk.

Happy eating!

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