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Urad Dal - Creamy Split Black Lentils

Urad chhilka, i.e. split unhusked urad dal, is an easy to make lentil that is creamy and delicious! Ready within half an hour it is great to pair with fresh whole wheat chapati or even with rice and sabzi. Urad is one of the original lentils from the Indian subcontinent. It’s uses range from our dinner plates to construction. Read more in the post and try this simple recipe!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: entree, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, north indian
Keyword: Dal, lentil, urad dal, vegan, vegetarian
Author: Kanika Samra


  • 1 Pressure cooker/instant pot/stock pot


  • 1/3 Cup Urad Chhilka/Split Unhusked Black Gram
  • 1/2 Pyaaz/Onion preferably red
  • 1/2 Tamara/Tomato or one if small
  • 2 Hari mirch/green chillies
  • 3-4 Lehsun/Garlic cloves smashed, peeled and chopped
  • 1 One inch piece Adrak/Ginger washed and chopped (peeling is optional)
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp Tel/Oil any mild cooking oil
  • 1 Tsp Heeng/Asafetida
  • 1 Tsp Jeera/Cumin
  • 1/2 Tsp Haldi/Turmeric Powder
  • 1 Tsp Dhania/Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Lal Mirch/Red Chili Powder replace with Kashmiri mirch or paprika for less heat
  • Kaali Mirch/Black Pepper a few cracks
  • 1/2 Tsp Garam Masala
  • Namak/Salt to taste
  • Water for pressure cooking dal about 2 cups
  • Hara Dhania/Fresh Coriander (cilantro) cleaned and chopped for simmering and garnish


  • First, measure dal in a bowl. Wash it thrice or until water runs clear. Soak in almost twice as much water as dal while you prep other ingredients. 
  • Clean and chop onion, tomato, ginger, garlic and green chillies.
  • Then, heat a pressure cooker on medium high heat. Add oil to it once warm. To the oil add in this order, asafetida, cumin, garlic, ginger and chillies. Sauté until fragrant and ginger and garlic are starting to brown. Then add onion and tomato. Cook until onion is translucent and tomatoes are starting to soften. Then spice this tadka, add salt, turmeric, red chili and coriander powder. Mix well and sauté for another minute or two until the spices are blooming.
  • Once the tadka is ready add all the soaking dal in the pressure cooker and add more water such that dal is under an inch of water. Close the lid and pressure cook for at least 20 minutes. If the lid has a whistle weight, then cook on high heat until the whistle sounds twice, then lower the heat to low and cook for another 10 minutes or so. Turn off the heat and let steam escape naturally.
  • Open the lid with care and only when steam has completely escaped and the safety valve has dropped. Mix the dal and check for consistency. Simmer for a few minutes with fresh coriander and add a few pinches, up to half a teaspoon, of garam masala as well as a few cracks of black pepper. Then finally garnish with more chopped coriander when serving.
  • Enjoy dal with sabzi, phulka or rice, dahi, cut veggies for salad and any condiments you wish. I served it with mooli ki sabzi freshly made whole wheat chapati/phulka, cut mooli and homemade plain yogurt.


Read bottom of the post for Instant Pot cooking instructions.