Mixed Black Dal (Urad Dal)


IMG_20150514_222332[1] 17/05/2015

I have a taste for lentils at the moment and teamed with my love of all things Indian, lentil curry seems a great choice. Lentils have a bit of a reputation for being boring and bland but each variety has it’s own subtle flavour and this mix creates a wholesome and earthy taste bought to life with fresh ginger, spices and chillies.

You can serve this as a side dish to a meat curry but it is plenty tasty enough to stand up on its own. It is great served with chapati, roti or paratha.

(Serves 8 as a side dish)


  • 100g black lentils, also known as whole urad dal with skin on
  • 100g mung beans, also known as whole mung dal with skin
  • 100g chana dal, or the inner layer of black chickpeas split in half
  • 100g moth beans
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cm root ginger, peeled and finely sliced
  • 3 tsp hot green chillies, finely chopped
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 4 tsp garam masala


  1. The night before you want to serve the dal, rinse all four types of dal well then combine them in a heavy-based pan about 25cm in diameter. Pour in 2 litres of water and leave to soak overnight.
  2. The next day, place the pan over a high heat and add the onions, ginger, chilli, butter, salt and turmeric. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer at a gentle bubble for about 2½ hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the garam masala, mix thoroughly, cover and continue cooking for 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
  4. For an extra kick, heat some oil in a small pan, add cumin seeds and fry for 10 seconds and then add two whole dried red chillies and fry until they darken. Add to the mixed black dal for extra flavour.

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