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

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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.

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 1 teaspoon ghee in a pressure cooker. Instead of ghee you can also use oil or butter.

Add ½ teaspoon cumin seeds. When they sizzle, add 1 medium sized chopped onion.

maa ki dal or kaali dal

3: Stirring at regular intervals, fry the onions till light brown or golden.

Punjabi kaali dal

4: Now 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. In this below photo I have added following spices one by one:

  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder
kaali dal

7: Stir the spice powders and mix well.

maa ki dal

8: Then add 1 finely chopped green chili.

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 as required. 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. This helps to thicken the consistency of the dal.

Cook till you get a creamy consistency. I kept the maa ki dal a little thin as we prefer thin dals in summer. You can keep the consistency as per your preference.

Garnish it with coriander leaves and Serve maa ki dal hot with naan, kulcha, rotis or plain paratha. You can also have it with steamed basmati rice.

Punjabi maa ki dal recipe

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

Maa ki dal

Black gram dal or kali dal or maa ki dal is a popular and delicious Punjabi dal recipe made with sabut urad dal.
4.9 from 39 votes
Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Cuisine Indian, Punjabi
Course Main Course
Diet Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Easy
Servings 4


  • 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 – crushed
  • 1 inch ginger – crushed
  • 1 green chili – finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder (ground coriander)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder (or cayenne pepper or paprika)
  • 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


Soaking Lentils

  • 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 in a kadai or pan. Add the 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 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 with coriander leaves.
  • Serve maa ki dal hot with naan, kulcha, rotis, plain paratha 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.

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Maa ki dal
Amount Per Serving
Calories 211 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Sodium 640mg28%
Potassium 223mg6%
Carbohydrates 31g10%
Fiber 12g50%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 13g26%
Vitamin A 706IU14%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 15mg18%
Vitamin E 2mg13%
Vitamin K 7µg7%
Calcium 53mg5%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 14µg4%
Iron 4mg22%
Magnesium 14mg4%
Phosphorus 27mg3%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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  1. Thank you for posting such amazing recipes with simplified steps which are so easy to follow. I only started cooking now and your blog has been my teacher. Any dish I think of I first some here to check if you have the recipe and I have almost always found what I am looking for as your collection is so comprehensive. Sincere thanks for your efforts and may your blog continue to keep inspiring and guiding novice cooks like me.5 stars

    1. Thanks a lot Madhu. Felt nice to read your lovely comment. I am glad that the recipes are helpful during these times. Thanks again and I wish you all the best. Stay safe and take care.

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