Photo by: Jonathan Lovekin

Urad dal with coconut and coriander

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250g urad dal, soaked in plenty of water overnight
60g clarified butter or ghee
1 large onion (240g), peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
75g fresh root ginger, peeled and coarsely grated (60g)
1 green chilli, flesh and seeds finely chopped   
1 tbsp garam masala
5 medium tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped (600g net)
160g coconut cream
2 tbsp lime juice, plus 1 lime, cut into wedges, to serve
1½ tbsp black mustard seeds, toasted

100g fresh coconut, roughly grated
50g crispy fried shallots (shop-bought)
30g coriander, roughly chopped

This is all about the texture of the urad dal. Also known as black gram or black lentil, the texture – which retains a bite even after its long cooking – is more like that of a mung bean than that of your usual lentil. The difference between black and white urad dal is that the white version has had its skin removed. I prefer to use the black – the skin helps the dal keeps it shape and gives the dish a pleasing bite – but the white, which you won’t need to soak overnight, works just as well. The inspiration for this I owe to Aasmah Mir, whose website,, is a treasure trove of Pakistani family cooking.

Serves four

(p, 125 Plenty More)


The method for this recipe is available in the book Plenty More, available to buy here.
Plenty More |

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