8 Ideal Urad dal Substitutes For Idli, Dosa & Dal Makhni

Are you looking for a substitution for urad dal? Urad dal is a kind of lentil, and it’s often used in Indian cooking. If you’re not able to find urad dal at your local grocery store or looking for a different flavor profile, there are plenty of other options available.

In this blog post, I’ll discuss some of the most popular urad dal substitutes; I’ll also provide recipes so that you can put your new knowledge to use!

What is Urad Dal?

Urad dal is a variety of lentils that is black in color. It is high in protein and fiber and has a nutty flavor. Urad dal can be used in a variety of dishes, including curries, dahl, and chutneys.

Alternative Name: Vigna mungo, the black gram, urad bean, mash kalai, uzhunnu parippu, ulundu paruppu, minapa pappu, Uddu, black matpe, and white lentil.

What is urad dal used for?

Urad dal, or black gram, is a staple food in Indian Cuisine like Idli, making Dal, and many more. It has a nutty flavor and a little firm texture. Urad dal can be used in curries, soups, and stews, Dahi vada.

It can also be crushed into flour and used to make bread and pastries. Urad dal is a good source of protein, fiber, and vitamins B and C. It also has minimal calories and fat.

What can I use instead of urad dal? 

Urad dal is mainly used in Asian Countries, also the Caribbean, Fiji, Mauritius, Myanmar, and Africa.

You can place many lentils for Urad dal for curry, idli, dosa batter, and so on. There are mung beans, Adzuki Bean, Black lentils, yellow split peas, pigeon peas, cowpea, Turkish gram, and rice.

Let’s take a look at the details…

Urad Dal Substitutes

1. MUNG BEAN- Best Substitute for Urad Dal

Urad dal is a species of mung bean; they are similar from look to taste. Mung beans are green in color and the best substitute for urad dal in curry, dal makhani, etc.

Known as- In Persian Maash, also green gram, moong monggo, or munggo

mung beans are green in color and the best substitute for urad dal

Mung bean is a key ingredient in many savory and sweet dishes; it is a staple legume in Asian and middle east countries.

You can use it in soup, stuffing in the sweet dumpling, making bean sprouts, making tofu from it, and also in Korea, mung beans use for making pancakes. In the Southeast, Asia-it is used for porridge, side dishes served with rice and all. (Source)

2. ADZUKI BEANS- A Good Alternative To Urad Dal for making sweet dishes

Adzuki beans substitute for urad dal in cooking, making them a viable option for people who want some sweet dishes.

They have an equal flavor and texture to urad dal but are slightly sweeter. Like most beans, they’re rich in protein and fiber.

Alternative names: Adzuki has Also known as red mung bean, azuki, red beans, red cowpea, and all.

Adzuki beans are often used in Japanese cuisine. One popular dish is an adzuki bean paste called Yōkan (source).

Yōkan is made by boiling adzuki beans until they are soft, then mashing them into a paste. Sugar, rice flour, and sometimes chestnuts are added to the paste to give it flavor and texture.

Yōkan can be eaten sweet or savory and is used in many different dishes. It can be spread on toast, used as a filling for pastries, or added to the soup.

Additionally, you can use adzuki beans to make dal makhani, red bean paste popular in Southeast Asia, red bean sprout( high protein meal), add into ice cream, etc.

You can find adzuki beans at some specialty grocery stores or online.

3. BLACK LENTILS- Decent Replacement for Black Gram

Lentils are a kind of legume that come in various colors, but the most common lentil is the black lentil.

They have a mild flavor and a firm texture, making them a versatile ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. Like other legumes, lentils are high in protein and fiber, and they are also a good source of iron and potassium.

Black Lentils can be used as a substitute for urad dal in many recipes, including this one for black lentil dal. 

The flavors and textures of the two ingredients are similar, so you won’t notice much of a difference in the final dish. If you’re looking for a healthy, protein-rich meal that is easy to prepare. Check Ideal Black bean paste substitutes.

4. Try BLACK BELUGA LENTILS Instead of Urad Dal 

Black beluga lentils substitute for urad dal in this recipe, making it gluten-free. This is a black-type of lentil and has a nutty flavor. It’s often used in Indian cooking.

Black beluga lentils dish is packed with protein and fiber, making it a healthy and satisfying meal.

It’s perfect for lunch or dinner, and it can be enjoyed by vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

So try this recipe; you won’t be disappointed!


  • 1 cup black beluga lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1. In a large pot, combine the black beluga lentils, vegetable broth, onion, garlic, ginger, and red pepper.

2. Carry to a boil over medium-high flame.

3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through.

4. Stir in the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

5. Substituting YELLOW SPLIT PEAS for Urad Dal For Idli and Dosa 

Yellow split peas are easily replaced for urad dal in most recipes, as they have a similarly nutty flavor and textural profile.

Both urad dal and yellow split peas are high in protein and fiber, producing a nutritious addition to any diet. They’re also comparatively less in calories, making them a good choice for people trying to lose weight. Both lentils can be cooked in a variety of ways, making them a versatile addition to any meal.

If you’re searching for a healthy and delicious way to add protein and fiber to your diet, consider yellow split peas in your cooking.

You can make dal, soup, pease pudding, and add into idli or dosa batter. They are readily available and find any Asian grocery store.

6. PIGEON PEAS- Suitable Urad Dal Alternative 

Pigeon peas are widely consumed in the south and southeast Asian countries, Africa, and Latin American cuisine.

It is a great replacement for urad dal or black gram in any recipe you want to make. Make this recipe for idli, a steamed South Indian breakfast dish. Try Best Pigeon Peas alternatives.


  • 1/2 cup pigeon peas (toor dal)
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 teaspoon Fenugreek seeds (methi)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water

For the idli batter:

  • 1 cup pigeon peas (toor dal)
  • 1/2 cup white rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water


1. Wash the rice and dal in plenty of water. Soak the rice and dal for at least 3 hours.

2. Remove the water from the rice and dal and grind to a smooth paste with enough water. Add the fenugreek seeds and salt and grind again.

3. Pour the batter into a greased idli mold and steam for 10-12 mins.

4. Withdraw from the steamer and serve hot with chutney or sambar.

Besides, you can add pigeon peas into the sambar, soup, a variety of dishes, etc.

7. COWPEA Another Worthy Substitute for Black Gram

Cowpea is a type of bean that is native to Africa and Asia. It is often used in African and Asian cuisine, and it can be substituted for urad dal. Cowpea is a good source of protein, fiber, and vitamins, and it is a low-fat food.

You can add cowpea to your diet in several ways. You can cook it and eat it as a vegetable, or you can use it to produce a variety of dishes such as stews, curries, and soups. You can also add cowpea to salads or use it as a filling for sandwiches and wraps.

If you’re glancing for a healthy and nutritious snack, you can try roasted cowpea. Roasted cowpea is a popular snack food in many parts of Africa and Asia. It is generally served with a dipping sauce or spice blend.

Cowpea is a good source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is also less in calories and fat. Cowpea is a good choice for people who are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

If you have never tried cowpea before, you should definitely give it a try. It is a nutritious and delicious food that can be enjoyed in many different ways.

8. Replace TURKISH GRAM/MOTH BEAN For Urad Dal

Turkish gram, also known as moth bean, is an excellent substitute for urad dal in many recipes. It is rich in protein, less in carbohydrates, and has a nutty flavor. This versatile legume can be used in soups, stews, curries, and even desserts!

The legume is also popular in other parts of Asia, particularly in China and Thailand.

turkish gram, also known as moth bean, is an excellent alternative for urad dal in many recipes

Moth bean can be cooked in a variety of ways. It can be boiled, steamed, or roasted. The legume can also be ground into flour and used in baking or as a thickener for soups and stews.

If you’re glancing for a healthy and delicious way to add more protein to your diet, try moth bean! This versatile legume is a great way to boost your intake of essential nutrients.

Read More- Best Fava Bean Substitutes

Wrap Up On Substitutes for Urad Dal

If you love Indian food but can’t seem to find the right ingredients, don’t worry! So there you have it, the best eight urad dal or black gram substitutes that should help you in a bind.

You can easily substitute urad dal for another type of bean-like red bean, lentils, Turkish gram, etc.

Just remember to cook the beans thoroughly and add plenty of spice to make up for the lack of flavor. Your family and friends will never know the difference. Try this recipe tonight and enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal.

FAQs Related to Urad Dal & Its Alternatives 

Q1. Can we replace urad dal in dosa batter?

Urad dal is an important ingredient in dosa batter, as it helps to create a light and fluffy texture.

However, if you are unable to find urad dal or if you are looking for a different flavor profile, there are a few alternatives that you can try.

1) Channa dal is a lentil with a slightly nutty flavor, and it can be used as a replacement for urad dal in dosa batter.

2) Masoor dal is another lentil that can be used to replace urad dal, and it has a slightly sweet flavor.

3) You can also try using a combination of rice and lentils as a replacement for urad dal.

4) You can also add Leftover Rice paste to substitute urad dal for dosa batter.

If you are replacing urad dal in dosa batter, you may need to add a little more water. This is because lentils tend to absorb more water than urad dal does.

Adding a little extra water will help to ensure that the dosa batter is the right consistency for making dosas.

Q2. What can be used instead of urad dal in Idli?

There are many options that can be used in place of urad dal in idlis, such as channa dal, masoor dal, or moong dal and rice.

Each has a slightly different flavor and texture, so experimentation may be necessary to find the option that you prefer.

You could also use a mixture of different lentils. If you do not have any lentils on hand, rice can be used as a substitute.

Simply cook the rice until it is soft, then mash it up before using it in the recipe.

Q3. Can you substitute for urad dal chana dal?

Yes, you can substitute urad dal with chana dal. They are both pulses and have a similar nutritional value. However, the taste will be different, so it is best to experiment to see which one you prefer.

Chana dal is also a little harder to find in some areas, so if you are looking for easy substitution, urad dal is a good option.

Q4. Is urad dal the same as black lentils?

Urad dal and black lentils are not the same, but they are related.

Urad dal is a kind of lentil that is white in color. Black lentils are smaller than other types of lentils, and they have a deep, black color.

Both urad dal and black lentils are high in protein and fiber, and they are a good source of iron. They can be used in a variety of dishes, including stews, soups, and curries.

Q5. What are some other dal substitutes?

If you are looking for other dal substitutes, there are plenty of options.

Masoor dal and toor dal are similar to chana dal in texture and flavor. They can be utilized as substitutes in most recipes.

Another option is moong dal, which has a slightly different flavor and texture than other types of dal. It can also be utilized in most recipes.

Finally, you can also use split peas as a substitute for dal. They have a mild flavor and are a good source of protein and fiber.

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