Urad Dal with Coconut, Shallots and Cilantro

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Urad Dal with Coconut, Shallots and Cilantro

This easy, earthy, creamy and spicy curry dish is one that is reminiscent of dal makhani, a classic Punjabi preparation featuring whole urad beans — also known as black gram or black lentils — and red kidney beans cooked in an aromatically spiced tomato gravy and finished with plenty of cream. Unlike traditional versions of dal makhani, urad beans are the star by themselves in this dish, complemented with a finish of coconut cream and fresh lime juice, and garnished with crispy fried shallots, coconut flakes and fresh cilantro.

For those who prefer milder and earthier curries, this is one that you will want to remember and try. The coconut has a tempering effect on the hotter elements, though more chilies can be included if you want a bit more heat.

Urad Dal with Coconut, Shallots and Cilantro Urad Dal with Coconut, Shallots and Cilantro
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on October 22, 2019

Creamy and earthy urad beans simmered in a simple, spicy tomato and coconut cream sauce

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 5 minutes

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  • 1 1/2 cups whole dried urad beans (black gram)
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1-inch fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 2 green chilies, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons Kashmiri or other chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 2/3 cup coconut cream or canned coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves (methi)
  • juice from 1 lime (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons oil
  • 3 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh or dried coconut flakes
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, trimmed and chopped
  • Rinse the urad beans and soak in several inches of water for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse, then set aside.

  • Heat the ghee or oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds, and fry until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to splutter and pop — about 1 minute. Add the onion and sauté for 10 minutes, or until the onion is softened and begins to brown.

  • Reduce the heat to medium, toss in the garlic, ginger and chilies, and stir for another minute. Add the garam masala, chili powder, turmeric and cumin, and stir for another minute.

  • Add the tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. Now add the urad beans and pour in 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and the sauce has thickened.

  • While the dal is cooking, heat 2 1/2 tablespoons of oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the shallots and sauté for 15 minutes, until the shallots turn golden and crisp. Set aside for garnish.

  • Once the beans are tender, stir the coconut cream or coconut milk and fenugreek leaves, and gently simmer over low heat for another 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and salt, and remove from the heat.

  • Serve hot, garnished with fried shallots, coconut flakes and chopped cilantro.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Urad Dal Curry

Other recipes featuring black gram to try from Lisa's Kitchen:
Dal Makhani (Black Gram and Kidney Bean Curry)
Classic Dal Makhani with a Vegan Twist
Urad Bean and Quinoa Kofta with Coconut Fenugreek Sauce

This is my contribution to My Legume Love Affair, a monthly vegetarian event celebrating the goodness of legumes. Administered by me, and kindly hosted this month by Kalyani of Sizzling Tastebuds, see her announcement here for details and to participate.


Shaheen said...

i like dal mahkhani so know i would like this very much. Its beautifully presented too.

Kalyani said...

I can imagine the textural high with the crispy shallots and coconut flakes sitting pretty on top of a creamy dal curry , Lisa ! bookmarked to try soon :) and thanks for linking it to MLLA 132 !