Urad Dhal

This nutritious dhal is based on small black legumes, similar to mung beans, which are loaded with phytonutrients and high in alpha linolenic acid (ALA) – a plant source of omega 3. Tadka is a technique also known as tempering, where the oil is heated with the spices and stirred through the dhal after cooking.


  • 1 cup whole, black, urad dhal (pre-soaked for 2-3 hours)
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped or ½ small can diced tomatoes
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP chopped coriander
  • Tadka
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tsp minced ginger
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp dried red chilli
  • Pinch asafoetida powder


  1. Place the dhal, tomatoes, turmeric, fennel seeds, salt and 4 cups of water in a pressure cooker. Cover with lid and bring to pressure then turn down heat to very low and cook for about 40 minutes, or 1 ½ hours in a conventional pot on the stove. Allow the pressure to come down naturally so you can open the lid.
  2. Heat the oil in a small fry pan on medium heat. Add the ginger, cumin seeds and red chilli. Fry for 30 seconds or until the cumin and chilli start turning brown. Add the asafoetida and sauté for a further 2 seconds. Stir the tadka into the cooked dhal. Serve hot sprinkled with coriander and a side of steamed wholegrain rice.

Serves 4

  • To reduce cooking time, use the white, skinned and split, urad dhal. This also improves the color but contains less anti-oxidants.
  • Many types of dhal can be purchased from Indian shops.
  • If you prefer a thinner, more soup like consistency, use 6 cups of water instead of 4.
  • You can replace the asafoetida with one chopped onion and 2 cloves of garlic, which you should sauté before adding the spices when making tadka.

Per serve: energy 666 kJ (160 Cal); protein 7 g; fat 10 g; saturated fat 1 g; cholesterol 0 mg; carbohydrate 11 g; fibre 5 g; calcium 34 mg; iron 2 mg; sodium 594 mg