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U For Urad Dal - A Great Tempering Ingredient

Every woman handling a kitchen knows that spices and seasoning can both make and break a dish. For a new learner, it could be quite confusing and frustrating how to decide the right spices for any preparation. In Indian cooking, spices are an integral part of every dish. We often add them whole and also in ground form. Another way of enhancing the taste and aroma of any dish is called "Tempering" or "Tadka". Tadka is basically a technique of infusing the goodness of spices in any dish. However, for tadka not only picking the right ingredients is important but adding them in the right order is also necessary. Some common tadka spices are Cumin, Mustard Seeds, Fenugreek Seeds etc. But today I am going to write about a unique tadka element, Urad Dal.

While tempering a dish, we heat oil or ghee (clarified butter) in a little pan and add whole or ground spices and dals in the hot oil or ghee. it makes the spices crackle and a soothing aroma spreads all around in the kitchen. This whole content of pan is then this added to the dish that enhances its flavor too. The heated oil brings out the smell and flavor of the spices/dal, as well as their nutritional benefits and healing properties. The tempering is usually done at the beginning of the cooking process or to add as a final flavoring.

U For Urad Dal
U For Urad Dal - Vibhu & Me
In my childhood, my neighbors were South Indians; Bharti Uncle, and Tilhawati Aunty. Aunty was a great cook and she was able to develop a taste for authentic South Indian dishes in our typical North Indian setup. Although Aunty knew limited English and was completely unaware of Hindi, she had a close bonding with my Hindi speaking mother. They both taught each other their local foods and festival delicacies. This way, Idly Sambhar became our best-loved Sunday meal. And in Aunty's family, Chole and Kadhi took this place.

Although my mother mastered South Indian cooking very well, I liked anything cooked by Tilhawati Aunty more. In South Indian cooking, dishes are usually tempered with dals, soaked in water for sometime, particularly, the split yellow channa dal and skinless split white urad dal. And I simply love the nutty flavor and crunch of fried dal, quite like a fried nut. Chana Dal is mostly soaked and then added to the dishes whereas white Urad Dal is directly added in tampering steps after Mustard seeds. When the dal has fried long enough, and then the vegetables are added and the whole dish is again cooked long enough so that the dals should not be tooth-shatteringly hard anymore.

In my North Indian kitchen, Urad dal is mostly cooked as a lentil and we eat chapati or steamed rice with it. And then another common use of Urad dal is in making Dahi Vadas. However, I also use Urad dal in the tempering whenever I cook any South Indian dish. As per my mother, Urad dal is assumed healthy since ages. In ancient time, Urad Dal laddoos were made for the men of the family as they used to work so hard in the fields and farms. Uard dal is extensively used in preparations of various delicious culinary such as dosa, papad, and vada.

Ayurvedic Benefits of Urad Dal
Urad dal is very good for consumption as it has protein, iron, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, potassium which makes it a healthy pulse. Urad dal is also rich in fiber which makes it good for the stomach. Called "Masha" in Ayurveda, urad dal normalizes Vata and hence has anti-inflammatory properties. It is also recommended for nervous debility, partial paralysis, facial paralysis and other disorders which involve the nervous system. Urad dal is considered as a natural aphrodisiac as it treats sexual dysfunction. It is also assumed helpful in milk secretion in lactating mothers. Other benefits of Urad Dals :
  • Improves digestion
  • Increase overall energy of the body
  • Boosts bone mineral density
  • Good for diabetics
  • Good for your skin
  • Reduces pain
  • Good for heart health
  • It is a diuretic
  • Anti Aging
Dadi Maa Ka Nuskha
Soak a little quantity of white urad dal overnight. Grind the dal and mix with three tablespoons of yogurt. Apply this pack on the face and neck and let it dry for 15 minutes. Then rinse with cold water. This is a very effective remedy for getting rid of Sun tanning.

How to buy
Urad Dal is available in various forms in the market. The whole lentil (Black Urad), split lentil, skinned (white colored) and urad dal powder. Dal Makhni has Black whole urad dal, whereas in Dosa and Medu Vada, we use skinless while urad. And for making Dahi Vadas simpler, now stores also keep Urad dal powder. Grab according to your need.

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