Maa Chole Ki Dal (Curried Mixed Lentils)

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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.

maah chole ki dal recipe

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.

chana dal urad dal for maah cholon ki dal recipe

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.

The dal served there have a slight thick consistency and sweet in taste. You can also check this Langarwali dal and Dhaba dal recipe.

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.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Maa Chole Ki Dal

Soaking Lentils

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.

rinse - maah chole di dal recipe

Sautéing spices, onions, tomatoes

2. In a 3 litre pressure cooker, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Splutter ½ teaspoon cumin seeds first.

cumin for maah chole di dal recipe

3. Then add ⅓ cup chopped onions.

onions for maah chole di dal recipe

5. Sauté onion until light golden stirring often on a medium-low heat.

ginger for maah chole di dal recipe

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.

onions for maah chole di dal recipe

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.

tomatoes for maah chole di dal recipe

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.

spices for maah choleyan di daal recipe

Adding lentils and water

9. Then add the soaked lentils. Mix well.

add dal to make maah chole di daal recipe

10. Pour 2.5 cups water.

add water to make maah chole di daal recipe

11. Add salt according to taste. Mix again.

salt for maah chole di daal recipe

Cooking Lentils

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.

cooked dal for maah chole di daal recipe

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.

making maah chole di daal recipe

14. Lastly add ½ teaspoon garam masala powder. Mix well. Taste the dal and add more of the spice powders and salt if needed.

making maa chole di daal recipe

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.

maah chole ki dal recipe, Punjabi maah choleyan di daal recipe

If you are looking for more Dal Recipes then do check:

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maah chole ki dal recipe, punjabi maah choleyan di daal recipe

Maa Chole Di Dal

4.89 from 9 votes
Maa Chole Ki Dal recipe is a staple curried mixed lentils dish from the Punjabi cuisine. A hearty, healthy, flavorful dish with a unique name and made with two lentils.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 50 mins

Cuisine North Indian, Punjabi
Course: Main Course
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Servings 3
Units

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil – can sub with ghee or butter
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 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
  • cup chana dal (split skinned bengal gram)
  • 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

Instructions

Soaking lentils

  • 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.

Notes

Lentils: Make sure to make this dal with fresh lentils. Avoid aged lentils as they take a lot of time to cook. 
Soaking lentils: You can choose to skip soaking the lentils. Increase the cooking time for un-soaked lentils. 
Consistency: Maa chole ki dal has medium consistency. Do not make it very thick or runny. The lentils will also thicken on cooling. If they become too thick, add a bit of water while reheating. 
Spicing: For a spicy dal, increase the amount of green chillies and red chilli powder. 
Gluten-free dal: Omit adding asafoetida or use gluten-free asafoetida for a gluten-free version.

Nutrition Info Approximate values

Nutrition Facts
Maa Chole Di Dal
Amount Per Serving
Calories 235 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 415mg18%
Potassium 108mg3%
Carbohydrates 27g9%
Fiber 10g42%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 321IU6%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 6mg7%
Vitamin E 4mg27%
Vitamin K 3µg3%
Calcium 71mg7%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 8µg2%
Iron 3mg17%
Magnesium 10mg3%
Phosphorus 16mg2%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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24 Comments

    1. you can use whole urad dal, but then soak the lentils overnight. with whole urad dal the taste will be more like dal bukhara or dal makhani.

  1. Hi, The dal tastes very nice.
    But there is one peculiar thing about it, when I cook it and pack for lunch for office. It gets spoiled, just after 4 hours it’s totally spoiled with some white foam over its surface.

    I have done this twice and both the times it got spoilt.
    What could be the reason?4 stars

    1. strange. when we make this dal, we make it for both lunch and dinner and it does not get spoiled. i would suggest to pack the dal in a steel tiffin box. add it hot as soon as the dal is made and then cover with lid. the hotness will prevent growth of any microorganism and the dal will not get spoiled.

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