Black Gram Lentils in Tomato Sauce | Dinner

The authentic restaurant-style version uses whole urad dal, also known as whole black gram, available in Indian stores. You can use whole mung beans or brown lentils as well. The cooking time and water needed will be less with the lentils and mung beans. Dal Bukhara is traditionally cooked on charcoal for hours, which gives it a smoked flavour. I use smoked paprika for the effect. Add some liquid smoke if you would like it to be smokier. Serve with flatbreads or rice. This dal also makes great sloppy Joes. Use less liquid for a thicker stew.


1 cup black gram or whole green mung beans, soaked overnight and drained 5 cups water, divided 3 medium tomatoes, chopped (2 1/4 cups) 1 (1-inch) knob of ginger, coarsely chopped 6 cloves garlic 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (or use 1/2 teaspoon regular paprika + 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke) 1 teaspoon Garam Masala, divided 1/2 cup water 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste 1/2 cup almond milk (use thin cashew cream for a richer dal) 2 teaspoons vegan butter, for garnish Red pepper flakes, for garnish 1 tablespoon cashew cream, for garnish (optional)


1. Combine the black gram in a saucepan with 4 cups of water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. Stir once in between. If the water threatens to boil over, open the cover a crack.

2. Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the tomato, ginger, garlic, cumin seeds, paprika, smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, and 1/2 cup of water. Blend to a smooth puree. Add the puree and salt to the beans. Cover and cook until the beans are tender and easily mashed, about 20 minutes.

3. Mash half of the beans. Add the almond milk. Mix well, taste, and adjust salt and spice. Add more smoked paprika or liquid smoke for a smokier flavour. Cook uncovered until the desired consistency is achieved, about 15 minutes. Add more water at any of the steps if needed. Garnish with 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, vegan butter, red pepper flakes, and cashew cream, and serve hot.

Pressure Cooker: Wash the beans and soak for at least 4 hours. Drain, and combine with 3 cups of water in a pressure cooker. Close and lock the lid, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes once the cooker reaches pressure (4 to 5 whistles at medium-high heat). Let the pressure release naturally. Open the lid, and place the cooker over medium heat. Follow steps 2 and 3.

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