Urad Dal Recipes

Mash Ki Daal (Dry Urad Dal Recipe) Recipe

Mash Ki Daal (Dry Urad Dal Recipe)

03.14.12 by Jackie

Daddy, my father-in-law, needs his daal ("lentil" in Urdu) fix daily. We usually make the wet, soupy version, which he considers tastier because of baghar (common red chili oil layer). But every now and then, Daddy asks for sukhi mash ki daal. "Sukhi" is in reference to a dry lentil preparation. I used urad dal and cooked the lentils with caramelized onions, fresh chiles, garlic, ginger and cumin seeds.

Urad dal is a great source of protein and iron and it's pretty low in calories. The caramelized onions provide the extra oomph of natural sweetness and are balanced with a little kick from the freshly grated ginger. The result is as tasty, healthier version of an Indian staple. We usually make mash ki daal with freshly homemade roti (Indian flat bread). Daddy often likes to spread a little bit ghee (clarified butter) when my mother-in-law's not watching!

If you have leftover lentils, you can add grilled vegetables the following day. It makes a great salad for a light lunch.


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Vegetable Chana Dal Recipe Recipe

Vegetable Chana Dal Recipe

11.10.10 by Jackie

Turai chana dal is a dish that Baji, my husband Lulu's late grandmother, would make for the family. It's a healthy dish made of ridged gourd vegetable and lentils.

The ridged gourd vegetable, also known as turai or beerakaya, has the shape of an elongated starfruit squash. You can find it at any Indian grocery stores. This time, I made my own interpretation of her dish using a similar looking Vietnamese vegetable called mướp, which is a loofah gourd. Like the ridged gourd, mướp also belongs to the squash family. I've made this recipe with other vegetables such as zucchini and opo squash (trái bàu in Vietnamese) before and it’s come out well because once cooked, the texture of all these vegetables is quite similar. The flesh is soft and tender with a mild, natural sweetness.

No matter which vegetable you end up using, this dish will make a great veggie main course for your next meal.


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Dahi Bhalla Recipe (Indian Lentil Fritters in Yogurt Sauce) Recipe

Dahi Bhalla Recipe (Indian Lentil Fritters in Yogurt Sauce)

10.19.10 by Jackie

Dahi bhalla is a very common dish in Indian cuisine. Hot fried lentil fritters are soaked in cold water, gently pressed then smothered in a thick yogurt sauce. What makes the dish so special is the combination of sweet tamarind chutney that marries very well with the tanginess of the yogurt. It can be eaten as a snack or appetizer. The dish may be fried, but it’s packed with nutrition so you can enjoy it without feeling that guilty.

For added flavor, I added both chopped dates and date syrup to the tamarind chutney. This dish can be prepared in advance and assembled at the last minute, which is very convenient. Serve with cilantro and mint chutney on the side and you'll have yourself a very flavorful appetizer.


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Idli Recipe with Coconut Chutney Recipe

Idli Recipe with Coconut Chutney

04.28.10 by Jackie

Idlis (also spelled idly or iddly) are South Indian savory steamed rice cakes, very similar to the Vietnamese equivalent called bánh bò. The sponge cakes are made with urad dal, rice and water. The idli batter is fermented and steamed, which creates mini air bubbles. I usually serve them with sambar (a toor dal vegetable soup) and coconut chutney.

In India, this traditional dish is usually served for breakfast or as a snack. I think they also make perfect appetizers when we have dinner parties. I love that they're bite-size, which means they won’t interrupt conversation too much. I usually serve them in Chinese porcelain soup spoons that I place in a circle around a large serving bowl of sambar with several chutneys on the side. It’s a great way to start a party!


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Masala Vada Recipe (Indian Urad Dal Fritters) Recipe

Masala Vada Recipe (Indian Urad Dal Fritters)

04.01.10 by Jackie

Nobody can say no to fried food. These vada (Indian-style fritters) are no exception. The dish is fairly easy to make; all you need to do is soak the lentils long enough before blending them into a mixture slightly thicker than pancake batter. The batter is made of urad dal and mirchi ("chiles" in Urdu), deep-fried, then served with a cilantro chutney. 

We often make large batches of vada on the weekend. The girls and I take turns manning the fry station and preparing more chutney. Frying can be a little scary for kids learning to cook, and I've found that this recipe is a good way of easing them into it. I wouldn't recommend it for small children of course, but my 13 and 14 year old sisters-in-law have really taken to it. Once you try the combination of vada and cilantro chutney for the first time, you'll know why!


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