Recipe: Whole Unhulled Urad and Rajma | A Slow Dish with Urad and Kidney Beans

Urad is one of my favourite lentils, comforting and nourishing, but you do have to know and respect its properties.

I would not have known it when I first made this recipe, but it is a sister of Dal Makhani, using yoghurt instead of butter and cream and whole urad rather than split. I reckon it might be a good slow cooker dish. It isn’t a traditional Dal Makhani, and diverts somewhat from the traditional recipes, but it is delicious and is very very easy.

Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series. You might also liked our Madhur Jaffrey recipes here and here. There are a number of Dal Makhani recipes here and here.

Whole Unhulled Urad and Rajma Dal | Urad and Kidney Beans Dal

Whole Unhulled Urad and Rajma Dal | Urad and Kidney Beans Dal

Finally I found a recipe that allowed me to use up the urad dhal I had sitting in my cupboard. And what a dish! This is a slow cooked dish – taking around 5 hours – but they are effortless hours. No need to do more than the odd stir or two.

85 g whole black lentils (urad lentils) cleaned and washed 85 g Red Kidney Beans (rajma)  or whole unhulled Mung beans,, cleaned and washed A piece fresh ginger, 1 cm, peeled and sliced, PLUS another piece peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled 5 Tblspn plain yoghurt Pinch cayenne pepper
1.75 teaspn salt Pinch freshly ground black pepper 3 Tblspn olive oil or ghee
1 med sized onion, cut in half lengthwise then finely sliced Pinch asafoetida powder 0.5 whole cumin seeds
2 dried chillies

Combine the two lentils in a very heavy bottomed saucepan. Add 1.1 litres water, the sliced ginger and the garlic cloves. Bring to the boil and cover, lower the heat and simmer gently for 4.5 hours, stirring every hour or so. Add water if needed.

Put the yoghurt in a small bowl. Beat it well with a fork (to prevent curdling). When the lentils and beans have been cooking for 4.5 hours, lift the lid and mash the urad and rajma well against the sides of the pot with the back of a kitchen spoon. Pour in the yoghurt, stirring as you do so. Also add the cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir, bring to the boil, cover, lower heat and simmer for another 30 minutes.

Heat the oil or ghee in a 20cm frying pan. When hot, put in the sliced onion. Fry, stirring over medium high flame for about 4 minutes, then put in the grated ginger and fry it along with the onions for 1 more minute or until the onions are brown and crisp. Remove onions and ginger with a slotted spoon and put aside.

Add the asafoetida, cumin and chillies to the same oil. When they darken (almost immediately), turn off the heat and pour the contents of the frying pan into the pot with the lentils. Cover pot again and leave until you are ready to serve.

To serve: mix the dhal and ladle it into warm serving bowl. Sprinkle onions and ginger over the top. Eat on its own, or with vegetable dishes, naan and pickled onions!


recipe notes
Use a hand held immersion blender to coarsely mash the dal, but be careful – don’t puree it.


This recipe is cross posted with our sister site, A Life (Time) of Cooking;  it appears here as part of our Retro Recipes series – vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2005.