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Maah ki Daal/Black Dal

Maa ki dal/ kaali dal/ whole urad lentils

anubhav mahajan
Maa Ki dal/ Kaali dal- A traditional Punjabi recipe, using whole urad dal (maa ki dal),simmering the dal slowly with the flavours of onions, ginger , garlic, chillies, and tempering with rich tomatoes ,cream and authentic spices to add loads of flavour and richness.
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course curry, main, Main Course
Cuisine Indian, north indian, punjabi
Servings 4 people


  • 1 cup whole urad lentils/ man ki dal soaked overnight in enough water
  • 5-6 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tbsp pure organic ghee
  • 1 tsp mustard oil
  • 2 small onions chopped
  • 2 inch slice ginger thinly sliced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2-3 green chillies chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes pureed
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder (deli mirchi powder)
  • a pinch asafoetida powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp malai (fresh cream)/ clotted cream

to garnish

  • 1 tbsp homemade butter/butter/ or ghee
  • fresh coriander chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala


  • Thoroughly wash and rinse the dal soaked dal.
    Add it in the pressure cooker with water, little salt and 1/2 tsp of fenugreek seeds (methre), and cook for 5-6 whistles.
    Maah ki Daal/Black Dal
  • Open the cooker, and add a teaspoon of mustard oil, asafoetida powder, Chopped onions, garlic, green chillies and thinly sliced ginger.Pressure cook again for 15 minutes on low heat.
    Maah ki Daal/Black Dal
  • Once the dal is cooked, check for the consistency. If the dal is too thick, add 1 cup more water.
  • In another pan. Heat ghee, add cumin seeds. Once they splutter, add rest of the chopped onions, Sauté, till the onions are a little fried (read golden). 
    Maah ki Daal/Black Dal
  • Add rest of the ginger slices, and sauté. Once ginger is golden, add green chillies and the tomato puree (puree to small tomatoes in a grinder).
    Maah ki Daal/Black Dal
  • Once the tomatoes are all cooked, and the tempering starts leaving ghee at sides, add malai (clotted cream). If you do not have clotted cream , you can use regular single cream
    Maah ki Daal/Black Dal
  • After adding cream, sauté everything well for 3-4 minutes till the cream is incorporated in the tempering. Add degi mirchi powder, mix well and add the cooked dal to this tempering . Check seasoning and adjust as per your taste.
    Maah ki Daal/Black Dal
  • Cover and cook on slow heat, for another 10-15 minutes. You will know the dal is ready, when it is all creamy, and not runny. 
  • To serve, top it with a drizzle of ghee, or homemade white butter, or any butter.
     Topping this with ghee or butter makes it more delicious. But it is completely  optional .
    Sprinkle some garam masala, fresh corinader and have it with tandoori roti/ naan bread, and salad.
    Maah ki Daal/Black Dal


Adding fenugreek seeds is completely optional. It imparts no taste, but really aids digestion. The traditional cooking for the whole urad daal, required using fenugreek seeds, lots of ginger garlic, asafoetida, as this dal is heavy on your stomach and might cause bloating , but other than adding flavour ,adding these spices helps make digestion of this dal so very easy, and help avoid any stomach problems.
This dal can be made without using the cream, but I really prefer adding cream to any variation of black dal I cook, as adding cream enhances the taste, texture and creaminess of this dal.
Keyword daal, lentils, dahl,dal,beans,pulses