Maa Chole Ki Dal recipe is a staple curried mixed lentils dish made in every Punjabi household. If you love lentils, you will love this hearty, healthy dish that has a unique name and made with primarily two lentils.
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Whats with the Name?
When I first heard the name, I was amused. I did not even know that such a lentil recipe exists with such a name. Let me break it down for you.
- ‘Maa or Maah‘ here means Black Gram or Urad Dal.
- ‘Chole’ is Bengal Gram or Chana Dal.
So In Punjabi we call this mixed lentils dish as “maa chole ki dal” or “maa choliyan di dal“.
Many delicious Indian dal recipes are made by combining two or more dals. Example Rajasthani Panchmel Dal.
This Punjabi dal is one more fine example of preparing a flavorful dal recipe by combining the two lentils, which I have mentioned earlier.
Both the lentils are split. But the black gram have their black skins on.
The end result is a smooth dal with a creamy texture from the black gram and a subtle nutty sweetness from the chana dal.
About This Recipe
This maa chole ki dal is minimally spiced. We don’t over spice this dal with spices, but do use a fair amount of onion, ginger, garlic and green chilies.
They do add some depth to the dal in terms of taste and flavors. So that the dal does not become bland.
If you have ever eaten food in gurudwaras or langars, then this mah chole ki dal will remind you of the dal served in gurudwaras.
This mah choleyan di daal is a filling dal and should be eaten hot with rice, roti or parathas. The dal is also very heavy.
I have learnt to make this dal from my mother-in-law, who has been making this way for many years. This is a family favorite recipe that I am sharing.
I usually first sauté the spices, onions, tomatoes and then add the lentils. Sometimes, my mother-in-law makes a one pot dal. She does not sauté the ingredients but simply adds everything in the pressure cooker with some butter or ghee and let the dal cook.
You can also cook mah chole ki dal in a pot. Only that they will take a longer time to cook. If cooking in a pot, the soak the dal for 45 mins or 1 hour prior to cooking.
The quantity of water should be adjusted when cooking in a pot. Use a thick bottomed pot, so that the cooked dal does not stick at the bottom.
How to make Maa Chole Ki Dal
1. Pick and rinse ⅓ cup each of chana dal and split urad dal (with skins). Soak both the lentils for half an hour in water. Later drain all the water and set aside.
Sautéing spices, onions, tomatoes
2. In a 3 litre pressure cooker, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Splutter ½ teaspoon cumin seeds first.
3. Then add ⅓ cup chopped onions.
5. Sauté onion until light golden stirring often on a medium-low heat.
6. Add ½ teaspoon each of finely chopped ginger and garlic and ½ to 1 teaspoon chopped green chilies. Fry for about 15 to 20 seconds or until the raw aroma of the ginger and garlic goes away.
7. Add ½ cup finely chopped tomatoes. Sauté until the tomatoes become soft and pulpy and you see oil leaving the sides of the cooker.
8. Now add ¼ or ⅓ teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon red chili powder and 1 pinch of asafoetida (optional). Sauté for 4 to 5 seconds.
Adding lentils and water
9. Then add the soaked lentils. Mix well.
10. Pour 2.5 cups water.
11. Add salt according to taste. Mix again.
12. Pressure cook for 8 to 9 whistles or 10 to 12 minutes on medium to medium-high heat until both the lentils are softened and mushy.
When the pressure settles down on its own in the cooker, open the lid and check the lentils.
13. If the lentils are not cooked completely and the water has dried up, then add about ½ to 1 cup water and pressure cook for some more time. Both the lentils should become soft and mushy.
Open the lid when the pressure settles down and simmer the dal for some more minutes till you get a smooth consistency. If needed you can add some water if the dal looks too thick.
The dal should not be watery or runny but have a medium consistency. Mash a few cooked lentils with the back of a spoon when the dal is simmering. Mashing some lentils helps in thickening the dal.
14. Lastly add ½ teaspoon garam masala powder. Mix well. Taste the dal and add more of the spice powders and salt if needed.
15. Once the lentils have cooked to your desired consistency, add or garnish with 1 to 2 tablespoons of coriander leaves.
Serving and storage
Serve Maa Chole Ki Dal hot or warm with roti, paratha or steamed rice. Store any leftover dal in a covered bowl or container in the refrigerator for a day.
This dal will thicken when cooling. While reheating add some water and mix. Reheat the dal in a small pan.
If you are looking for more Dal Recipes then do check:
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Maa Chole Di Dal
- 2 tablespoons oil – can sub with ghee or butter
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ⅓ cup finely chopped onions or 1 medium-sized
- ½ teaspoon finely chopped ginger or ½ inch
- ½ teaspoon finely chopped garlic or 2 to 3 small to medium-sized
- ½ to 1 teaspoon finely chopped green chilies or 1 to 2 green chillies
- ½ cup finely chopped tomatoes or 2 medium-sized
- ¼ or ⅓ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne pepper
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing) – optional
- ⅓ cup chana dal (split skinned bengal gram)
- ⅓ cup urad dal – split and with skins (split black gram)
- 2.5 cups water – for pressure cooking
- salt as required
- ½ to 1 cup water – to be added later, optional and if required
- ½ teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
- 1 to 2 tablespoons coriander leaves – optional
- Pick and rinse both the lentils. Soak them in enough water for 30 minutes.
- If you have time, you can soak the dal for 45 minutes or more for faster cooking.
- Later drain all the water and set the soaked lentils aside.
Sautéing onions and tomatoes
- In a 3-litre pressure cooker, heat oil. Add the cumin seeds and fry them until they crackle.
- Then add onions and sauté them until light golden stirring often on medium-low heat.
- Add the finely chopped ginger, garlic and green chilies.
- Sauté for about 15 to 20 seconds or until the raw aroma of the ginger and garlic goes away.
- Add the tomatoes and sauté until the tomatoes become soft and pulpy.
- Now add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, asafoetida and garam masala. Fry for 4 to 5 seconds.
Adding lentils and water
- Add both the soaked lentils and mix well.
- Pour water and add salt. Mix again
Pressure cooking lentils
- Stir and pressure cook for 8 to 9 whistles or 10 to 12 minutes on medium to medium-high heat until both the lentils are softened and mushy.
- When the pressure settles down on its own, remove the lid and check the lentils.
- If they are not cooked completely and the water has dried up, add about ½ to 1 cup water and pressure cook for some more time. Both the lentils should become mushy and soft.
Simmering lentils further
- Open the lid when the pressure settles down on its own in the cooker.
- Simmer the dal for some more minutes until you get a smooth medium consistency.
- The dal should not be watery or runny.
- Mash a few cooked lentils with the back of a spoon when the dal is simmering. This helps in thickening the dal. If needed you can add some water if the dal looks too thick.
- Check the seasonings and add more of the spice powders and salt if required.
- Once the lentils have cooked to your desired consistency, add or garnish with coriander leaves.
Serving and storage
- Serve the Maa Chole Ki Dal hot or warm with roti, paratha or steamed rice.
- Refrigerate leftovers for a day only in a covered container or bowl.
Nutrition Info Approximate values
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