Sookhi Urad Dal is a Punjabi style tangy and spicy dry lentils dish made by tempering skinned and split Black gram also known as Urad Dal. Usually the lentils prepared in North Indian style of cooking are of curry consistency but this the exact opposite. Its completely dry (just like a sabzi) and hence the name Sookhi Dal which literally translates to dry lentils. This dish is vegan, delicious and healthy making it a great recipe for everyday cooking.This recipe I’ve learnt from my MIL and she usually uses a pressure cooker to make this dish. But you can use regular cooking vessel too just that lentils take longer to cook that way. Also she and hence me make it more like a one pot dish i.e. cook everything in pressure cooker at once. But if you like you can cook the dal separate with some water and salt. Drain it and then add to the onion tomato and spices mixture. That would work as well.
I love serving this dal with some freshly made hot chapati/Roti (indian flat bread) and a side of Green Chutney and Pickled Onions. A perfect comfort meal.
Now to the recipe…
3/4 cup urad dal
1 cup water
2 tbsp oil or ghee
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 small onion finely chopped
1 medium tomato finely chopped
1 inch ginger finely chopped or grated
4 cloves of garlic finely chopped or minced
2-3 green chillies slit in half vertically
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (or to taste)
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1-2 tbsp of lemon juice (or to taste)
handful of finely chopped coriander leaves
salt to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper powder (or to taste)
Wash the Urad dal thoroughly for 4-5 times or until the water runs clear. Soak it in enough water for 10-30 mins or more. Simultaneously in a pressure cooker or vessel heat oil and add the cumin seeds. Once they splutter add the asafoetida, green chillies, garlic and ginger (I use a food processor to get the fine consistency). Cook for a min and then add the onions. Saute and cook until translucent. Then add the tomatoes along with salt, black pepper and turmeric powder. Mix well and cook till tomatoes are soft.
Now add the chilli powder and coriander powder.Saute for 1-2 mins. By this time usually the Urad dal must have swollen a bit. Drain the water from the dal and add it to this masala. Mix and cook till any water present in the dal almost dries out (approx 2 mins). Then add 1 cup of water. Scrape the sides of the cooker if there is any masala stuck to it. Mix well. Close the pressure cooker lid and cook for 2-3 whistles ( I cooked mine for 2 whistles). Switch off and wait for the steam to escape completely.
Open the lid of the pressure cooker and fluff it up using a fork (don’t over mix it or else you will break the dal). At this point there still might be some water left in the dal. Add the garam masala, lemon juice and finely chopped coriander leaves. Switch the gas on back to low heat and let this dal cook on low heat till the water (if any) completely dries out (approximately 5-10 minutes). Keep it open without any lid as this will help to dry out the liquid quicker. Garnish with some more coriander leaves before serving. Dont over cook it too as the dal will get mushy.
- I’ve used pressure cooker for this recipe but you can use regular cooking vessel too. If using regular cooking vessel soak the dal longer (couple of hours) to fasten the cooking process.
- Depending on the quality of dal the cooking times may vary. If you feel even after 2-3 whistles the dal is not cooked, cook for another 1-2 whistles.
- You can even make this dal with out tomatoes