Black Dal


Here we are more or less following Rick Stein’s recipe from the India book. Using olive rather than mustard oil, mixed rather than pure Kashmiri chilli powder, regular rather than Indian bay leaves. Left out the optional asafoetida.

References to this particular recipe can be found online, see e.g.:

Urid (or urad) dal, is another super legume, actually a lentil, rich in iron and protein. While pitch black on the outside, it’s actually white inside and normally sold as “white lentil”, usually split. It tastes very lentil-like, very mushy and chewy at the same time.

Ingredients to serve 3-4:

  • 175g urid dal
  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • 25ml olive or vegetable oil
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • small piece of cinnamon stick, whole
  • 1 small red onion
  • 150g small tomatoes
  • 1tsp toasted ground cumin seeds
  • 1tsp turmeric
  • 1tsp ground coriander
  • 1tsp garam masala
  • 1tsp salt
  • knob of butter
  • small piece of ginger root
  • fresh coriander

The teaspoons should be very heaped, maybe except for the salt.

The dal should soak for a good few hours, ideally overnight. Cook in the soaking water with the chilli powder and some oil for 1-2 hours, adding water as required. Dal should be soft, almost done, but still with a lot of bite.

Get the bay leaves and cinnamon lightly fried in the remaining oil and fry chopped onion with them until soft. Add chopped tomatoes, remaining spices, salt and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the dal to the pan and cook covered together for 10-15 minutes. Stir in the butter to finish together with julienne of ginger and chopped fresh coriander.


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