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Black Lentil Curry (Urad Dal)

This satisfying slow-cooked buttery lentil curry (Urad dal) is packed with iron and fibre. This dish is the king of all lentil curries and is often found in the menus of most Indian restaurants. Traditionally the lentils are slow-cooked over a jiko over night to ensure it is uniformly cooked but it is well worth the wait. In my recipe, I have cooked the lentils in a pressure cooker which has reduced the cooking time quite a bit. Pair this lovely creamy dish with chapatis, naan, jeera rice, millet flat bread (rotlo) or even some ugali and you won’t need any other sides.



1 cup whole black lentils/ urad dal
4 cups water
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 inch ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp garam masala
2-3 tbsp butter
2-3 tbsp heavy cream
Salt to taste


Cover the lentils with water and let soak for 3-4 hours or overnight. Add 3 cups of water, salt and the lentils to a pressure cooker and cook for 6-8 whistles or until you can mash a lentil between your fingers.
In a pot, add 1 tbsp butter, onions, ginger and garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the onions turn golden brown.
Add chili powder, turmeric powder and cumin powder and toss. Add tomatoes and let cook for 3-4 minutes or until the tomatoes are cooked and oil starts to ooze out.
Add cooked lentils, 1 cup of water, remaining butter and garam masala and let come to a boil. Simmer for 25-30 minutes until the liquid becomes thick.
Pour heavy cream and mix. Let simmer for 5 minutes and you are ready to serve.

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