Quick and easy to prepare, and spiced with ginger, asafoetida, and fennel seeds, this urad dal dish is as comforting as it is aromatic. It can be eaten as either a side dish or a stew, and for all its simplicity, is incredibly flavorful—a treat for the senses.
Now, technically, this should be made with urad lentils (split preferably), which is why the title of this is “Urad Dal.” However, I only had richlea dal on hand, and they worked just as well. Yesterday was Monday, which is when Frank and I both have class all day. I get home a little bie before Frank, but when his last class ended at 9pm, he was hungry!
Lentils are kind of my go-to food for a quick, easy, delicious, and filling meal. They can be spiced many different ways to fit my mood, and I always keep some type of lentil on hand, along with tomatoes and onion. This time, I happened to have some leftover cilantro, so I decided to make what would traditionally be Urad Dal—but with richlea lentils instead, since I had those.
First, get out a 6 quart stock pot and the following ingredients:
Then, add the following to the stock pot:
- 9 oz. (250g) split urad dal
- 4 cups water
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 tsp turmeric (buy here)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (buy here)
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes or until the lentil is soft when pressed between your fingers.
To Make The Tarka For Urad Dal
A tarka is just a final seasoning that goes in Indian dishes. Each lentil dish has its own special tarka that creates such unique flavor profiles. If you haven’t already, please check out my Parippu lentils recipe. Totally different flavors, but some similar ingredients.
Anyway, first peel and then finely grate a 2 inch piece of GINGER, being careful to reserve the juices. You want all that gingery goodness in there. :) The best way to peel ginger is with a small spoon.
Frank got home from school right when I finished grating the ginger, and went ahead and chopped up the cilantro leaves for me. Sweet man. : )
When your lentils only have a couple minutes left, warm up a small cast iron skillet or stainless steel sauce pan with 2 TBSP COCONUT OIL. Once the oil is hot, add 1 tsp FENNEL SEEDS and 1/2 tsp CUMIN SEEDS and allow to pop.
Next, add the ginger and a pinch of asafoetida (buy here). Fry on medium for 30 seconds.
Then, pour into the lentils and simmer for another 5 minutes. Lastly stir in the cilantro (coriander) leaves and season with sea salt to taste. Enjoy!
Oh, and lest you think, all we ate was lentils—we also ate a grass fed top sirloin steak that was literally the best we’ve had in 6 months. I’ve been messing around with steak seasonings, and this one was the best I’ve come up with yet! The steak was also cooked in grass fed butter. YUM.