Autumn Special: UP’s Favourite Urad Dal Ki Dubki

Think of Uttar Pradesh’s cuisine, and all things royal, meaty, and exquisite come to mind, and you are not entirely wrong. The Mughals and the Nawabs did give Awadh, a cuisine that defines extravagance for many foodies to date. But the food of UP extends beyond that. A large part of the state still eats as per season. Seasonal eating is a huge component of Ayurveda. 

Winter and summer foods should never be intermixed, and even during the season transitions, one needs to be mindful of what is being added to the plate.  It is advisable to eat light, fresh, and satvik food and that is one of the reasons Urad Dal Ki Dubki is an autumn favourite in UP and some parts of Chhattisgarh. It can be called a hearty broth, where soaked urad dal dumplings swim happily. It is warm, comforting, and just perfect for this nippy weather.  

The dish is widely prepared during this time to celebrate the new crop of urad and rice. One of the best qualities about this recipe is the negligible use of oil. That’s right, the urad dal balls are not fried, but ‘poached’ or boiled in water and the soft and spongy texture is just unbeatable.  

‘Dubki’ literally means ‘dipped’ in Hindi. Making this dish is actually very easy. Urad dal is soaked in water and left overnight. Next, morning, it is ground and made into a smooth paste. After this, chopped ginger, salt, and chillies are added to the paste and it is kept in a warm place for a couple of hours to ferment.  

Then, the real cooking starts with heating ghee or mustard oil in a pan. A pinch of hing, jeera and dried red chillies are added to it and allowed to splutter. Now the pan or pot is filled up with water.  

Once the water starts to heat. Small balls of the urad dal paste are dropped into the simmering water. The balls would start popping up on the surface, after this the water is brought to boil and everything is allowed to cook for until 10 mins, or till Urad dal balls are slightly soft.  

A bit of dal melts into the broth, but it is not a cause to worry. Your Urad dal balls won’t melt away or break so easily. If they are fermented well, they will hold shape. Once it is cooked the dish is served with garnish of chopped coriander and served with steamed rice.