maa ki dal recipe | kali dal recipe | black gram dal | sabut urad dal

black gram dal or kali dal recipe - maa ki dal is a popular and delicious punjabi dal recipe made with sabut urad dal.
4.75 from 12 votes

maa ki dal recipe with step by step photos – at home all my folks are fond of black lentils (black gram) or punjabi kali dal recipe.

maa ki dal

in punjabi these are called mah di dal or maa di dal or manh di daal. at home everybody called whole black lentils as maa di dal.

whole urad dal ma dal
maa ki dal is also known as kali dal, but it is not dal makhani. so let me tell you what is the difference between maa ki dal and dal makhani.

maa ki dal or kali dal is made from whole black grams (black dal) or sabut urad dal only. there are many ways of making this black gram dal recipe. 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 kali dal or maa 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 kali 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 maa 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 maa di dal.

maa ki dal recipe

4.75 from 12 votes
Prep Time:35 mins
Cook Time:25 mins
Total Time:1 hr
black gram dal or kali dal recipe - maa ki dal is a popular and delicious punjabi dal recipe made with sabut urad dal.
maa ki dal recipe, kali dal recipe, black gram dal recipe, sabut urad dal recipe
Course:main course

INGREDIENTS FOR maa ki dal recipe

(1 CUP = 250 ML)
  • 1 cup whole black lentils (sabut urad dal or black gram)
  • 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 maa ki dal recipe

soaking dal

  • pick the sabut urad dal and 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.
  • later drain the soaked sabut urad dal.

making maa ki dal

  • heat ghee, add cumin seeds. when they sizzle, add chopped onions. fry the onions till brown.
  • add the pureed tomatoes and mix well.
  • add the crushed ginger-garlic or ginger-garlic paste.
  • add the all the dry spice powders. add chopped green chilies.
  • saute the masala till the oil starts to leave.
  • add the soaked sabut urad dal (black gram). add water and salt.

cooking maa ki dal

  • cover the pressure cook for about 15 to 18 whistles or 18 to 20 minutes or till the maa 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.
  • if the dal looks thin, then simmer without the lid, till it reaches the desired consistency.
  • garnish maa ki dal with coriander leaves.
  • serve maa ki dal hot with naan, kulcha, rotis or plain boiled rice.


  • you can make this maa ki 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.
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how to make black gram dal or maa ki dal

1: pick the sabut urad dal (black gram), 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 sabut urad dal 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.

punjabi kaali dal recipe

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

maa ki dal or kaali dal

3: fry the onions till light brown or golden.

punjabi kaali dal

4: add the pureed tomatoes and mix well.

kaali dal recipe

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

maa ki dal

6: add all the dry spice powders.

kaali dal

7: stir the spice powders.

maa ki dal

8: add chopped green chilies.

kaali dal

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

whole black grams

10: add the drained and soaked sabut urad dal (black gram).

whole black grams recipe

11: add water and salt. stir well.

punjabi kaali dal recipe

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 maa ki dal a little thin as we prefer thin dals in summer.

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

punjabi maa ki dal recipe


dassana amit

Founder, Chef, Recipe Developer, Food Photographer >> MORE ABOUT US

namaste and welcome to which i started in feb 2009 and is a pure vegetarian blog. i have been passionate about cooking from childhood and began to cook from the age of 10. later having enrolled in a home science degree greatly enhanced my cooking & baking skills and took it to a different level which i now share as foolproof recipes. i was formally trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.

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87 comments/reviews

  1. is sabut masoor daal also called ‘ma ki daal’? Because in some parts of UP, masoor daal is said to symbolise a goddess (ma) … and could ‘ma ki daal’ also have a similar origin?

    • as far as i know, sabut masoor dal is not called as maa ki dal. i have read about masoor dal symbolizing the goddess. could be that maa ki dal has a similar origin, that we are not aware of. in fact, urad dal is originally from india and is mentioned even in the ancient texts.