Kalo Dal Recipe (Nepali Black Lentil Soup)

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Enjoy a warm bowl of Nepali Kalo Dal, a simple yet flavorful black lentil soup that’s a staple in Nepali cuisine. This kalo dal recipe is easy to make and the perfect side dish for rice.

KALO DAL RECIPE

Kalo Dal

Kalo Dal, also known as black lentil soup, is made from black gram lentils (whole or split black gram) and is a typical side dish in many South Asian households.

Black lentil dal soup is an everyday recipe in our Nepali cuisine, often served alongside rice and curries. 

It is mainly cooked in a stovetop pressure cooker, but you can easily make it in an electric pressure cooker or instant pot as well. At home, I often alternate it with red lentils (rato dal) to serve with rice.

One of the unique features of Nepali Kalo Dal is the use of “jimbu” while tempering. It adds a burst of flavor to the dish, which is the best part.

jimbu

Jimbu is a special dried Himalayan herb that we love using in Nepali cooking. It adds a unique flavor to our dal soup—it’s like a secret ingredient that really enhances the taste!

Ingredients

To make a delicious Nepali Kalo Dal, you will need a few simple key ingredients. Here is a list of what you will need:

INGREDIENTS - KALO DAL RECIPE

Black Gram: The main ingredient in Kalo Dal is black gram (also known as urad dal).

Tempering: Ghee and jimbu are needed for the Kalo Dal.

Seasoning: Fresh ginger garlic paste and salt.

Spice: Ground turmeric

Instructions

Making Kalo Dal is easy. Here are the steps to follow:

WASH DAL

Step 1: Take black gram dal and rinse it under running water. Repeat this process until the water runs clear. Drain the water from the soaked dal and transfer it to a pressure cooker.

ADD GINGER GARLIC PASTE TURMERIC

Step 2: Add water, ginger garlic paste, and turmeric to the pressure cooker.

Note: If you have time, soak the dal for an hour. This will help soften the dal and reduce cooking time. If not, you can cook it straight after washing it.

PRESSURE COOK THE DAL

Step 3: Securely close the lid of the pressure cooker. Place it on the stove over medium-high heat. Let the cooker whistle three times for a medium-soft texture.

RELEASE THE PRESSURE NATURALLY

Step 4: Once the dal is cooked, turn off the flame and let the pressure release naturally.

Note: It’s important to let the pressure release naturally before opening the cooker. Wait for the cooker to cool down and the pressure to drop on its own, which can take about 10-15 minutes. Quick-release methods (like running the cooker under cold water) are not recommended for dal, as they can affect the texture.

ADD WATER.

Step 5: Add the water to the cooked dal and mix well. Cook for 5-10 minutes on medium-low heat until the dal becomes thick and creamy. You can adjust the amount of water depending on your preference.

Step 6: Heat ghee in a pan, add jimbu, and let it splutter for a minute.

Note: I like my dal mildly thicker, so I add less water. However, if you prefer a thin, soupy texture, add more water and let it simmer until your required consistency is met.

ADD TEMPERING

Step 7: Then pour it into the cooked dal.

COMBINE EVERYTHING WELL.

Combine well and serve it hot with any white or brown rice or even with roti.

Serving & Storage

Here are some serving suggestions to help you enjoy this delicious dish:

Rice

Kalo Dal goes exceptionally well with steamed rice. The combination of dal and fluffy rice is a match made in heaven, alongside chicken or cauliflower curry.

Roti or Naan

If you prefer bread over rice, try serving Kalo Dal with roti or naan. The bread’s soft and chewy texture perfectly complements the dal.

Storing and Reheating

Storing

To store your Kalo Dal, first let it cool to room temperature. Next, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. 

If you want to store it for longer, you can freeze it for up to 2-3 months. Make sure to label the container with the date so you know when it was made. 

Reheating

When you’re ready to enjoy your Kalo Dal again, reheat it on the stove. Transfer the Kalo Dal to a saucepan and heat, stirring occasionally, until it’s heated through. Kalo dal tends to be thicker once you store it. Add a small amount of water to achieve the desired consistency.

Variations

Spices: We use fewer spices in Nepali Kalo Dal. But feel free to experiment with different spice blends, such as garam masala or curry powder.

Oil: Ghee is commonly used; however, if you don’t have ghee or prefer not to use it, you can substitute it with vegetable oil or coconut oil.

Galric: Jimbu is mainly used in Nepali kalo dal while tempering, but you can also temper it with chopped garlic or cumin seeds.

Other Nepali Recipes

kalo dal recipe - served with rice and kimchi

Nepali kalo Dal (Easy Black Lentil Soup)

Enjoy a warm bowl of Nepali Kalo Dal, a simple yet flavorful black lentil soup that's a staple in Nepali cuisine. This kalo dal recipe is easy to make and the perfect side dish to serve with rice.
Print Pin Rate
CourseMain
CuisineNepali
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Servings6
Calories250kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

Dal

  • 1 cup black lentils (split black gram)

Spice

  • ¼ tsp round turmeric

Seasoning

  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp ginger garlic paste

Tempering

  • ½ tbsp Ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp jimbu

Water

  • 3 cups Water (while cooking dal)
  • 3 cups hot water

Instructions

  • Rinse the black lentils with cold water until the water runs clear.
    1 cup black lentils (split black gram)
  • Then, add the turmeric powder, lentils, ginger garlic paste and water to a pressure cooker.
    ¼ tsp round turmeric, ½ tsp ginger garlic paste, 3 cups Water (while cooking dal)
  • Cover the lid and let it cook for 8-10 minutes on medium heat until you hear three whistles.
  • Let it cool down for 10-15 minutes until it release naturally and remove the lid. You will see the thick texture of the dal.
  • Add hot or warm water and bring it to a boil for 3-4 minutes on medium-high heat. Let it simmer, and turn off the heat.
    3 cups hot water

Tempering

  • Heat ghee in a pan. Add one teaspoon of jimbu and let it splutter for a minute.
    ½ tbsp Ghee or vegetable oil, 1 tsp jimbu
  • Finally, pour it into the dal. Add salt to taste and mix everything well.
    Serve hot with rice or roti.
    Salt to taste

Notes

#1. If you have time, soak the dal for an hour. This will help soften the dal and reduce cooking time. If not, you can cook it straight after washing it.
#2. It’s important to let the pressure release naturally before opening the cooker. Wait for the cooker to cool down and the pressure to drop on its own, which can take about 10-15 minutes. Quick-release methods (like running the cooker under cold water) are not recommended for dal, as they can affect the texture.
#3. If you prefer a thin, soupy texture, add more water and let it simmer until your required consistency is met.
The nutrition information provided is an estimate and may not be exact.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 250kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.05g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 2mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 0.003g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 3mg
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