SOOKHI URAD DAL – सूखी उड़द दाल (Ivory Lentils Dry Curry)

The dish I am sharing today is one that is made specifically in Punjabi households. It used to be one of my favorite dish at my mother’s. However, it took me many years to again enjoy it since it is not made in my marital house. And it has only been since a couple of years that I started making it on the insistence of my husband that I should make dishes that I enjoy even if it means cooking for just one! (something I procrastinate doing) When I did cook it, I was happy that it was liked and enjoyed by everyone in the house. Consider it another post in my everyday curry repertoire. It is an easy and simple lentil dish that is served sookhi or dry. The dal is soaked and then cooked in just enough water and then a tempering is added to it to add flavors to it. This dal is also used for making scrumptious fritters which are then soaked in spicy yogurt and served with tamarind chutney and green chutney and is a very popular and loved street food know by the name Dahi Bhalle or Dahi Vada. And the vada can also be enjoyed with a lentil preparation called sambar. This sookhi dal can be enjoyed as a side dish or as a main depending on how you wish to serve it and for what occasion. I served it with lachha parantha (layered flatbread)

For Dal

1 C Dhuli Sabut Urad Dal (Ivory Lentils, whole and skinless)

¾ C Water

½ tsp Turmeric Powder

½ tsp Salt

For Tempering 

1 tbsp Desi Ghee or any other Cooking Oil

2 Whole Red Chilies

½ tsp Cumin Seeds

1/8 tsp Asafoetida (heeng)

2 fat Garlic Cloves,

1 inch Root Ginger

2 Green Chilies, finely chopped

½ tsp Red Chili Powder

1 tsp Coriander Powder

½ tsp Garam Masala

1 medium / 75 gm Tomato

For Last Touches

2 tbsp finely chopped Coriander (Cilantro)

1 tsp Dry Mango Powder / Amchur

For Birista (Fried Onions)

¼ C Cooking Oil

1 small Onion


Wash the dal in plenty of water at least four to five times. Transfer it to a large bowl and add plenty of water. Keep the dal soaked for three hours. Drain and discard the water from the soaked dal.

Take a cooking pot and add the dal to it. Add three fourth cup water along with salt and turmeric. Place the pot on high heat and allow the contents to come to a boil. Reduce heat to minimum, cover the dal and cook till all the water is absorbed, stirring occasionally.


While the dal is getting cooked, prepare the ingredients for the tempering. Peel, wash and finely chop the ginger. Set aside. Peel, wash and chop the garlic. Set aside. Turn the tomato to puree in a grinder. Set aside.

For tempering, heat the ghee in a small frying pan. Reduce the heat. Break the whole dry red chilies in two and add it to the oil, followed by cumin seeds. Fry till cumin seeds begin to crackle. Immediately add the asafoetida and cook for five to ten seconds.
Add ginger and garlic and fry them till they become aromatic. Now add green chilies and fry till ginger garlic become golden brown in color.

Now add tomato puree, red chili powder, coriander powder and garam masala. Keep stirring the contents and cook till the tomato is cooked and you see oil around the edges of the tempering / masala.

Add two to three tablespoons of water and add the tempering to the dal. Stir gently so as not to break the dal. Cook the dal with the tempering for five more minutes or till the dal is completely done, stirring occasionally (If required, add more water to cook the dal, tablespoon by tablespoon.) Once the dal is nearly done, add dry mango powder and stir it gently into the dal.


Start pepping for the birista by peeling, washing and slicing the onions thinly. Set aside. In another frying pan, heat the oil and add sliced onions,

Cook the onions, tossing and stirring them continuously in hot oil, till the onions just begin to turn golden brown. (Don’t be tempted to go any further coz the onions will keep cooking further in residual heat even after you remove them from the oil) Immediately remove the onions on an absorbent sheet.

Before you transfer the dal to a serving bowl, add and mix finely chopped coriander. Transfer the dal in a serving bowl and garnish with fried onions and serve hot with roti or paratha. We usually serve it with lachha paratha (layered paratha).

Serves – 4

Note – I used whole skinless dal instead of split skinless dal since it holds its shape better and has texture to it.

Note – The dal tastes even better with a squeeze of lime so serve it with wedges of lime.

Thanks for your visit and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!

17 thoughts on “SOOKHI URAD DAL – सूखी उड़द दाल (Ivory Lentils Dry Curry)

  1. Can I just come to your house and have you cook for me? Everything you make is so different from anything I eat and such beautiful dishes. I have never been very successful in cooking dal, but I didn’t use your method. I see I need to try again. Another gorgeous dish!

  2. Oh I’m such a fan of dals and this looks amazing. I just had a check online and I can get Dhuli Sabut Urad Dal in my local supermarket. Can’t wait to give this a try. Thanks for posting!

    1. We essentially soak most dals for at least half an hour before cooking but for this particular dish, it needs to be soaked for more time.

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