mah ki dal recipe, punjabi kaali dal recipe | maa ki dal or manh di dal recipe

mah ki dal or maa ki dal recipe with step by step photos – at home all my folks are fond of black lentils. in punjabi these are called mah di dal.

thanks to renu, one of the readers, i came to know that it is actually mah ki dal and not maa ki dal. while speaking, the word ‘h’ is not stressed and obviously one hears it as maa ki dal…. ( read comments below). another reader nav says this is manh di daal.

at home everybody called whole black lentils as maa di dal. in fact in the beginning it was a bit strange to me to get acquainted with the punjabi lingo.

mah ki dal is also known as kaali dal, but it is not dal makhani. so let me tell you what is the difference between mah ki dal and dal makhani.

kaali dal or mah ki dal is made from whole black grams only. there are many ways of making it. it can be spicy or bland as well. it is also not a very rich and heavy dish as no extra cream, butter is added to it.

whereas dal makhani is made from a mix of whole black grams, kidney beans/rajma, and some times chana dal. it is a rich dish as it is made with butter, cream and sometimes yogurt too. it is a makhani dish. makhani means buttery. the word makhani is derived from the punjabi word makhan which means butter. so dal makhani is a buttery creamy rich dish.

so kaali dal or mah ki dal is not dal makhani. they are two different dishes. just to let you know there is another punjabi dish called maa chole di dal – this is made from black lentils and chana dal. it is a staple at my home. usually, at home i cook dal fry, dal tadka, various sabjis, pulao, khichdi, idlis, dosa, sambar. for me these are simple, comforting foods.

this recipe of kaali dal is a light recipe with a spicy touch to it. i have made this with sunflower oil and no butter or ghee. but you can make it with butter or ghee. you could also add some cream in the end if you prefer.

the main ingredients of this star dish is onion, green chilies, tomato puree and crushed ginger-garlic sauteed (bhunaoed) with indian spices.

generally mah ki daal is cooked and simmered in a pot. in a modern day life we don’t have the luxury and leisure to let our dals cook in pots. the black lentils take a lot of time to cook in a pot. i have cooked the dal in a pressure cooker. it is a quick cooking method and what might take hours, just gets over in 30-40 minutes.

maa ki dal goes very well with rotis, naan and even rice. so if you are fond of punjabi dishes, then do try this awesome kaali dal recipe. you and your family are going to love it. you don’t have to trust me. you have to make this at home and relish the mah ki dal.

if you are looking for more dal recipes then do check langarwali dal, andhra tomato dal, bengali cholar dal, chana dal fry and khatti dal.

mah ki dal or kaali dal recipe below:

4.84 from 12 votes
mah ki dal recipe (kaali dal)
prep time
35 mins
cook time
25 mins
total time
1 hr
mah ki dal recipe - kaali dal - punjabi dal recipe
course: main
cuisine: Indian, Punjabi
servings: 4
author: dassana
ingredients (1 cup = 250 ml)
  • 1 cup whole black lentils (sabut urad dal)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, pureed - yields approx 1 cup tomato puree
  • 2 to 3 medium garlic cloves, (lahsun) crushed
  • 1 inch ginger (adrak) crushed
  • 1 green chili (hari mirch) finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder (dhania powder)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder (lal mirch powder)
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1 tablespoon oil or ghee or butter
  • 3 to 3.5 cups water
  • salt as required
  • coriander leaves for garnishing
how to make recipe
soaking dal:
  1. pick the dal, rinse in water for 2-3 times and soak it in water for 30 to 40 minutes. you can also soak the lentils for 4 to 5 hours or overnight, depending on the quality of dal. if the lentils are old or near expiry date, then soak overnight.
  2. later drain the soaked dal.
making mah ki dal:
  1. heat ghee, add cumin seeds. when they sizzle, add chopped onions. fry the onions till brown.
  2. add the pureed tomatoes and mix well.
  3. add the crushed ginger-garlic or ginger-garlic paste.
  4. add the all the dry spice powders. add chopped green chilies.
  5. saute the masala till the oil starts to leave.
  6. add the soaked dal. add water and salt.
  7. cover the pressure cook and pressure cook for about 15 to 18 whistles or 18 to 20 mins, till the mah ki dal or lentils have become soft and buttery. if still they are not cooked well, then continue to pressure cook for a few more whistles.
  8. if the dal looks thin, then simmer without the lid, till it reaches the desired consistency.
  9. garnish maa ki dal with coriander leaves.
  10. serve mah ki dal hot with naan, kulcha, rotis or plain boiled rice.
recipe notes
  • you can make this dal less spicy or more spicy by adjusting the proportion of red chili powder and green chilies.
  • also this dal can be made thick or thin depending on what you prefer.

step by step mah ki dal or maa ki dal recipe:

1: pick the dal, rinse in water for 2-3 times and soak it in water for about 30 to 40 minutes. the soaking time can vary depending on the quality & age of the lentils. sometimes even after soaking for an hour or so, these old lentils take a lot of time to cook. so you can soak overnight or for some 4 to 5 hours. so if using old lentils or lentils near expiry date, soak them overnight. later, drain the soaked dal.

2: heat ghee in pressure cooker. add cumin seeds. when they sizzle, add chopped onions.

3: fry the onions till light brown or golden.

4: add the pureed tomatoes and mix well.

5: add the crushed ginger-garlic or ginger-garlic paste.

6: add all the dry spice powders.

7: stir the spice powders.

8: add chopped green chilies.

9: saute the masala till the oil starts to leave.

10: add the drained and soaked dal.

11: add water and salt. stir well.

cover the pressure cooker with its lid and pressure cook the dal for some 20-25 minutes till its soft. once opened let it simmer… mash some dal with the spoon whiles its simmering. cook till you get a creamy consistency. i kept the dal a little thin as we prefer thin dals in summer.

garnish mah ki dal with coriander leaves and serve mah ki dal hot with naan, kulcha, rotis or rice

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This post was last modified on January 29, 2018, 6:18 pm

    Categories Dal RecipesMain CourseNorth Indian RecipesPunjabi RecipesVegan Recipes