Vegan Black lentlis

Everyday Black Lentils

A hearty version of black lentils with a creamy texture and lovely flavors. This is the vegan everyday version that I prefer and makes quite often.
Course Main
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Author Syama


  • 1 C Black lentils with skin on Urad dal or black gram
  • 1 Onion Medium chopped
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 2 -3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Inch Fresh ginger root
  • ½ Tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1/4 Tsp Turmeric powder Optional
  • ½ Tsp Cayenne Pepper Notes
  • ¼ Tsp Garam masala
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 3 - 4 C Water
  • 1 Tsp Salt To taste

To Garnish

  • Chopped coriander
  • Chopped onions
  • Cream Coconut / cashew/ Dairy


Soak the lentils

  1. Wash and soak the black gram lentils and kidney beans in plenty of water for 8 hours (overnight). Drain and set aside.


  1. Cut the tomatoes crosswise and remove the seeds. Dice the tomatoes and set aside. Finely chop the onions. Grate the ginger and garlic.

Instant pot / Electric Pressure cooker

  1. Press the saute button in the pressure cooker/ Instant Pot. Add the oil. Wait for a minute for the oil to heat up. Add the cumin seeds. Give it 30 seconds and add the onions, Fry for a few minutes stirring in between until the onions soften and begin to brown.
  2. Add grated ginger, garlic the spice powders and salt. Mix well and add the chopped tomatoes. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the tomatoes soften. Add the drained lentils and 3 C water.
  3. Place the lid on, close the pressure vent, set the pressure on high and cook for 30 minutes.
  4. Allow the pressure to release naturally (Note). If the dish is too thick for, add the remaining 1 C water as needed and bring back to boil. Taste and adjust salt.

Stove Top

  1. Heat the pressure cooker and follow the directions for instant pot till adding the lentils. Add 31/2 C of water and close the lid. When the cooker reaches full pressure lower the heat to minimum and let it cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pressure release naturally.
  2. Once it is safe to open the cooker, add more water or salt as needed.


  1. Transfer to the serving bowls/plates and top with chopped onions, cilantro or a dash of coconut cream (note).

Recipe Notes

If trying to make the dish without a pressure cooker, follow the recipe until adding lentils and water. Increase the quantity of water by about 1 C. Bring everything to boil. Lower the heat and simmer covered for at least 60 minutes. Check in between to make sure that there are enough liquids in the dish. Add more water as needed.