On my honeymoon in Northern India, I ate a few versions of this dish, none more delicious than the one at the Oberoi Hotel in Jaipur. Dark, thick, creamy and enriched at the end with a buttery spiced tarka, this is some serious soul food, perfect for cold, snowy evenings.


1 cup split urad dal (black lentils)
2 large yellow onions, sliced thin
2 green chiles, slit (like jalapeƱo or serrano)
salt, to taste
1 pinch asafoetida
2 large tomatoes, chopped (canned are fine)
2\" pieces ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup heavy cream, whisked to thicken slightly
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons ghee
1 teaspoon cumin seeds


Step 1
You can soak the lentils overnight in a bowl of water to speed cooking, but this step is not absolutely necessary.

Step 2
Boil lentils with 3 cups of water, 1 sliced onion, green chiles, asafoetida and salt to taste until they are very tender. (If you did not soak, they may require additional water.)

Step 3
In a separate pan, heat the oil and fry the other onion until soft. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for a minute. Add the tomatoes, coriander, cumin and cayenne, and fry for another 5 minutes.

Step 4
Add the boiled lentils and enough water to make a thick gravy-like consistency and mix well. Simmer for 10 minutes. Pour in the whisked cream and mix well. Turn off the heat.

Step 5
In another small pan, melt the ghee, add the cumin seeds and fry until they stop sputtering. Pour this into the lentils (it will sizzle) and mix well.\r\n