I’m an avid fan of lentils, not only are they high in protein, but they’re also very tasty and have a great texture, too. ‘kali urad Dal, literally translates to ‘black Dal’ because of the dark colour of the urad Dal used in this recipe. Here, I use three parts of urad Dal to one part of kidney beans. (It is important to soak the lentils and beans overnight because it improves and softens the texture – canned pulses are not suitable for Dals.) Moreish, savoury and accented with a rich sauce that brings harmony to this Dal.
Ingredients for 6 Serves
- 300 g/ 1½ cups kali urad Dal, soaked in 2 litres/quarts water overnight
- 100 g/ generous ½ cup dried red kidney beans, soaked in 2 litres/quarts water overnight
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Holy Trinity Paste
- ½ teaspoon each of ground coriander, ground cumin and ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon tomato purée/paste
- 3 large tomatoes, chopped (core and seeds removed)
- 50 g/3½ tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons double/heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped coriander/cilantro
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- Seasoned Oil
- Roti breads, to serve
How to make kali urad Dal
- Drain the soaked lentils and rinse them well, then transfer to a pressure cooker with 1.5 litres/quarts of the water. Drain the red kidney beans and add these as well. Cook until the lentils are falling apart, this should take about 3–4 whistles (or 15 minutes) depending on your pressure cooker guidelines. (Alternatively, you can boil them in a pan, but this can take up to 4 hours.)
- Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over low–medium heat and fry out the ginger and garlic pastes until the raw aroma has been cooked off and the shreds begin to separate from one another. Add the onion and salt and fry really well so that the onions are buttery soft and golden-brown; this will take a good 30 minutes.
- Now that we have created a caramelized base flavour to the sauce, we add the holy trinity paste to add a fresh heat in the dish. Fry the paste in the onion mix for 3–4 minutes to cook through. Add the ground spices and cook for 3–4 minutes; add a splash of water if the pan starts to dry out slightly. Add the tomato purée/paste, mix well and fry for 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes and mix really well. Cover with a lid and gently simmer to allow the tomatoes to melt down to form a rich sauce.
- Add the cooked lentils and mix really well. Loosen the sauce with more of water to your desired consistency, I like my Dals quite thin, so I would add about 1 litre/quart water at this stage.
- We need to add another depth to the Dal by adding all of the finishing ingredients which will increase the richness. Add the butter, double/heavy cream, dried fenugreek leaves, freshly chopped coriander/cilantro and garam masala. Mix really well and let the Dal slowly simmer on an extremely low heat for 10–15 minutes.
- If you haven’t yet prepared the seasoned oil, now is the time to do so. Pour the seasoned oil on top of the Dal, scraping every last bit out.
kali urad Dal is ready to be served Mix well, and serve immediately with fresh roti bread.