Sukhi Urad Dal – Tempered Dry Lentils


Ingredients: – (Serves 2-3) 

The recipe can be used to make any lentil variety you wish to. Just adjust the cooking time depending on the lentil type and whether it is split or whole.

  • 3/4 cup dhuli urad  (Split urad lentils, easily available in indian stores)
  • Water for Soaking (as a thumb rule, 1:3 ratio of lentils to water)
  • 1/2 cup water for cooking (or as required, depends on how old your lentils are, grain size etc)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • Fresh lime juice (as per taste)

For Tempering: –

  • 3 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
  • 1/2 tsp sabut dhania (coriander seeds), crushed
  • 1/4 tsp hing powder (asafoetida)
  • 1/2 cup sliced onions
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger julians
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 3 Thai green chilies, chopped (adjust to tolerance)

Notes: Hing (asafoetida) is a pungent, unpleasant smelling indian spice but adds a lot of flavor to the tempering. Try getting it in powdered form in indian stores, trust me its worth the buy!

Method: –

Pick the urad dal and thoroughly wash it under a stream of water, 2-3 times. Let soak in enough water for at least 4-5 hours. Note: Soaking the dal is really important so that you don’t end up overcooking it on the stove. Once soaked, drain the water & discard. Spread the soaked lentils on a paper towel.

Cooking the Dal (lentils) – In a heavy bottomed pot with a lid/kadhai, add the soaked lentils along with turmeric powder, salt to taste & 1/2 cup of water. Note: -This quantity of water may sound less, but if your lentils are soaked properly, this amount of water is sufficient to cook them. Transfer the pot to the stovetop, cover with a lid & let the water come to a boil on high heat. When boiling, you will see some scum/foam on top of the lentils.Using a spoon, remove it. Once boiling,reduce the heat to minimum and let the lentils cook on low for about 8-10 minutes. You may need to go and gently stir once or twice in between while cooking to prevent lentils from sticking to bottom. Also if you feel that water needs to be adjusted, do so but add very less quantity of water at a time. The whole idea is not to end up with mushy lentils. We want the grains to remain intact and al dente. After you see that all the water has been absorbed by the lentils (approx 12 minutes from start), remove from heat and let the lentils sit in their own steam for 5-8 minutes. Fluff up with the help of fork once done. Tip:-Once the lentils have cooked & are hot, avoid stirring or mixing too much- they will become mushy.

Tempering the Dal: In a saucepan, add the ghee and let heat on medium. Once heated, add the cumin & coriander seeds and let crackle for about 30 secs. Be careful while adding the spices to hot ghee, they splutter. Reduce the heat to low and add the hing powder, sauté for 10 seconds. Just take care that the spices don’t burn. Add the ginger julians and garlic next and cook for 1-2 minutes till you smell the aroma. Increase the heat to medium and add the sliced onions and let the onions cook till they turn golden brown.About 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat once the onions have browned and add the red chili powder.

Immediately add this tempering to the cooked lentils along with garam masala and chopped green chilies. Mix thoroughly, adjust the salt if required and squirt some fresh lime juice.A dollop of melted ghee on top tastes amazing too.

Serve warm with flatbreads or rice.

46 thoughts on “Sukhi Urad Dal – Tempered Dry Lentils

  1. hahaha YES – out of sight, out of mind. after awhile, u stop craving all the unhealthy things!! 😀 lol. and i love this recipe! lentils with purple onion is not only a beauty, but must be so savory!

  2. Hannah is totally trying to teach me the value in eating such healthy foods as these. I just know that I can master my mind though, out of sight seems to cause control of mind. 🙂 It’s all I can think about. Sigh. It stinks.
    However in saying that, this looks tasty. I shall have a crack at it. 🙂

  3. Beautiful pictures as always Tanvi. I have faced tons of issues while dieting an year ago. It requires lot of self-control.
    This is a very comforting dish. My mom makes something similar with yellow moong dhal.

  4. A beautiful dish! Like you, when I indulge in calorie-rich foods, the next day I try to eat light and very healthy… That recipe is awesome. Just the kind of meal I have on a weekly basis.



  5. I am a bit of a health freak so you will see me having buttermilk instead of yogurt, butterless toats and dry phulkas! lol… but yeah… if I have cookies and chocolates around me then god save me!! My hubby eats something sweet after every meal (including breakfast!) and indulges in sinful tasty food! but he never pus on weight!! It’s cruel really 🙁
    I had put of a couple of pounds last month (thanks to my new found love for baking!) but have lost all of it now! I am in mom’s place, so no oven so no sugar and butter, lots of fruits, lots of red rice and vegetables and green tea 😉 It’s hard to strike a balance but moderation is the key i guess!!
    I have never tried this! Isn’t is amazing how different southern and northern India cuisines are!! Great photos too Tanvi!

  6. That was how things were as mom’s house too. We never stuffed our house with things that were not good for you. On the other hand M thinks we should always have something on hand in case we hit by a natural calamity to snack on. lol

    Love sukhi dal even more than the wet. And urad dal is certainly one of my favorites. I make it similar (gosh we say that all the time). Love the first picture. So crisp 🙂

  7. I don’t keep snaks in my house for that same reason! I really do need to be more adventurous with lentils and try a few more varieties besides masoor and chana dal! I have never eaten urad dal before but I can totally imagine putting this in a salad!

  8. This was the recipe I was looking for such a long time. Thank you , thank you thank you. Its my hubby’s favourite. He will be thrilled when I make this for him.
    Beautiful Pics!!

  9. Dear Tanvi
    How are you? If I am not posting my appreciation of your dishes , doesn’t mean that I don’t read them and put to use ..I do…ha ha . I like this recipe and will make it. But I mostly over boil the lentils and land later into making fritters or making a runny Bong dal with some seasoning …
    Your friend is right on food…In my blog I always advocate for healthy food and not the latest fad health food…In fact I am delighted to see you are using 3 tbsp of ghee, I will use 6 tbsp when I cook this ( provided i dont land into fritters ) …Imagine 3 tbsp of ghee shared by 2 people in a day, and if digested 100% will contribute to 150 to 200 gms weight gain each….anyway ..I know people who were on zero fat diet , gained 10 kg in 14 months. Actually most of the weight is gained by the individual body system, water retaining capabilities and carbohydrate in take …Body will produce fat from carbo as per its system even if one is on zero fat diet ,,
    For example this recipe is full of protein and fat and an excellent diet food for weight watchers.
    I am going to try this, and if I fail to boil to the right consistency , I will be delighted to have Udad dal fritters….
    Have a nice weekend

  10. same here…eating healthy is a goal that I have been trying to achieve for a long long time…the dal looks delish. I use this to make stuffed parathas.

  11. Oh dear! The dilemma healthy v. unhealthy is something I am facing nearly every day… It is like having a little angel and a little devil whispering in each of my ears…
    On the contrary, with this dal, no hesitation: it looks delicious, tasty, and of course, dal is always kind of healthy 😉

  12. I try to tell myself that it’s all about balance. If I eat healthy at breakfast, lunch and dinner then all those cookies don’t count, right? This dish looks super healthy AND super delicious. DOuble winner!

  13. Did I sleep all day yesterday and missed this? Wow! I did get lentils [Costco size] since I’ve browsed through some of your recipes with lentils [lentils council sponsoring you?] ;-). Not the split kind though, so I have to shop for another.

    I’m with you thinking healthy thoughts while enjoying toast with butter!

  14. Oh Tanvi.. You are a woman after my own heart! I love this lentil dish and I know hubby will go crazy for it. Love the spices picture. Everything look just wonderful.

  15. This looks fabulous! I love dal but I’ve never made it like this before. I have it wet and soupy, but I’d love to try it it his way. I know I would love it! 🙂

    I know what you’re saying about having a hard time not reaching for the goodies. We keep a lot of fresh fruit in the house, but sometimes I want chips or something sweet. I’ll let myself have a little bit of it because if I don’t, then I’ll end up eating too much of it later. So I eat small amounts and that satisfies me. 🙂

    But some days are better than others. We eat pretty healthy most of the time, so I think overall my diet is pretty balanced. But I do enjoy my butter. I just want to cut back even more on the sugar. 🙂

  16. I can totally feel ya on not wanting to give up a few unhealthy eating habits! I love sugar… too much haha!

    These lentils look so amazing and colorful!

  17. I am not a fan of urad daal .. I use it only when am making dosa. This looks like a fantastic recipe and I am definitely going to try this one.
    You know I was kind of addicted to drinking soda … needed it all the time and now I stopped buying. It’s better to pick and can then storing a stack in the refrigerator 🙂

  18. I love lentils or dhal… and your second photo is so inviting 😀
    With 2 hungry teens and cold weather… my pantry is filled up with loads of carb and junk food… 🙁 *guilty*… and takes a lot of ‘strong-will’ for me, not to seek winter comfort food.

  19. this is my fave dal. we call it maash ki daal. I love it dry. It’s my mother’s specialty.

    About eating healthy-it’s so hard when your husb loves all things fattening. We can’t go around eating salads all the time when our husbands are chowing down on burgers. 😉

  20. I love lentils and your flavourings, as always, outstanding. Nothing wrong with a little butter – a solid, stable fat that our body recognizes and readily metabolizes. The sugar? yeah, well, that’s probably something we all need to work on but it keeps us journeying – we are all works in progress! In the meantime, bless and enjoy what you eat – it will lose the power to harm you.

    “What you bless, blesses you; and loses its power to harm.”

  21. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of or had sukhi dhal (but most of my family doesn’t like dhal too much). It sounds interesting…I’ll have to try it some time.
    Gorgeous pics, as always.

  22. Fantastic looking dal! Try adding kids to your life and then passing on the unhealthy food. It only gets tougher. I do believe your philosophy though that healthier foods = healthier life and thus happier life. It’s just not always easy to get ourselves to avoid the unhealthy foods when they taste so delicious!

  23. Tanvi,
    I have become addicted to you blog now:) Love your recipes and the photographs. I make urad dal too but just with lots of ginger,cumin, dry red chilli and tomatoes. But this one looks way more tempting. Will have to try it soon.

  24. Such lovely photos, as always! I know exactly what you mean- I can’t resist temptation either. And your husband sounds like my husband- a bad influence!

  25. Tanvi, I always enjoy your pictures, but I also think you are a great writer too. I enjoyed reading your posts accompanied by gorgeous pictures. Now I don’t read magazines anymore because not only I don’t have time, but also I get to enjoy a blog like this that looks like it came from magazine! Looks delicious!!!

  26. This looks absolutely gorgeous– I mean the photos! I’m sure the dish tasted equally good, but I don’t care… I’m just ogling at your awesome shots 😉 You do have a way with the camera, seriously! Btw I too find it challenging to stick to my resolutions of eating healthy. I’m like life is short and as long as I’m fit, why compromise..lol. But then I want to stay slim and trim and that’s what floors me! 😉

  27. I am torn with the same dilemma every single day!

    I’ve never made this type of dal but it actually seems doable…thank you for sharing. Your photos are as lovely as ever.

  28. I agree with ur friend Tanvi we are in this world to eat …so i never think i always hit the table! You wouldn’t believe my mum said this recipe just two before, i was so curious to try….iits looks so beautiful and def healthy Got to try!!

  29. Oooh… What a great dish, Tanvi! Yeah, hard to stick to that healthy eating plan sometimes when you have a passion for anything food related 🙂 I’m loving those flavors..such a great combination!


  30. Your mother is so right. My larder is full of goodies that tempt me, and its torture, but its also torture for me not to buy it. I see goodies when I’m shopping and I just cant help myself LOL. The bad foods speak to me!
    Lentils are great for staying healthy. They are filling and low calorie. My mother in law’s masoor daah is so yummy!
    *kisses* HH

  31. Thanks for sharing best sukhi-urad dal pictures. I like this type of dishes. I enjoyed reading your posts accompanied by gorgeous pictures. I am very happy to read this article.thanks for giving us nice info.

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