Spicy Urad Dal with Cauliflower and Peas

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
urad dal with cauliflower and peas

Split dals are a fast and simple way to deliver nourishing and easily digestible proteins to vegetarians, and split skinned urad dal is among the fastest and simplest. These little white pearls — also known as black gram for the dark skin which is usually hulled — cook quickly, and their uniquely mild and floury taste is a wonderful vehicle for tangy flavors, aromatic seeds and hot spices. I always have a large bag on hand for when I need to come up with a quick meal without much planning. You can find urad dal at any Indian or Asian grocer.

This simple but very flavorful dal is cooked with tangy tomato and seasoned with warming seeds and spices, with cauliflower and peas added near the end to preserve texture and nourishment. It's a complete and satisfying meal served with hot fresh cooked rice, and it's vegan-friendly too if you use oil instead of ghee.

urad dal with cauliflower

Spicy Urad Dal with Cauliflower and PeasSpicy Urad Dal with Cauliflower and Peas
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on August 21, 2013

Simple, nourishing and easily digestible tasty Indian cauliflower and pea dal curry cooked with tangy tomato and seasoned with warming seeds and spice

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes

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  • 1 cup split skinless urad dal
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 1 green or red chili, seeded and minced
  • small handful of dried curry leaves
  • pinch of asafetida
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen and defrosted peas
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • Rinse the urad dal under cold running water and let soak for 20 to 30 minutes in several inches of water. Drain and rinse again. Add the urad dal to a medium saucepan and cover with several inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the dals are tender but still hold their shape. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.

  • Heat the ghee or olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. When hot, toss in the cumin and fennel seeds and stir for 1 minute. Add the onion and stir for 2 minutes or until the onion begins to turn translucent. Add the ginger, chili and curry leaves, and stir for 1 minute.

  • Drop in the asafetida, stir once, then add the tomato, cauliflower, turmeric and cayenne. Stir for 2to 3 minutes longer to let the tomatoes start to soften. Now add the cooked urad dal and peas. Stir to coat the dal with the tomato and spices. Stir in 1 cup of water, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, to heat the dal and let the flavors blend.

  • Remove from heat, stir in the salt, and serve hot over a bed of freshly cooked white rice if desired or with some Indian flat breads, such as naan bread.

Makes 4 servings

Indian urad dal cauliflower peas

More split dal curries you may enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Indian Style Spicy Mung Beans (Moong Dal)
Indian Style Yellow Split Pea Curry
Toor Dal Palak
Urad Dal with Fresh Fenugreek

On the top of the reading stack: Power Hungry(TM): The Ultimate Energy Bar Cookbook by Camilla V. Saulsbury

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