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

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.

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.

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maa ki 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.

STEP BY STEP PHOTOS ABOVEMany of my recipes have detailed step by step photos and useful tips to help you make it easily and perfectly.

Maa ki dal

4.85 from 26 votes
Black gram dal or kali dal or 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
Author:Dassana Amit
Prep Time:35 mins
Cook Time:25 mins
Total Time:1 hr
Course:main course
Servings (change the number to scale):4
(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 - crushed
  • 1 inch ginger - crushed
  • 1 green chili - finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chili 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


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, 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 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 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

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Dassana Amit

Dassana Amitnamaste 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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95 comments/reviews

  1. I have tried a lot of your recipes and every recipe has come out really well 😊
    Your blog is my favourite whenever I am cooking anything vegetarian.

    • Thanks a lot Grishma and glad to know. Happy Cooking.

  2. Dear Dassana,

    You really are awesome cook. I love following your recipes.Its always a hit when I have parties at my house. Keep it up you are doing awesome job with step by step explanation of each recipes.

    Reena5 stars

    • Thanks a lot Reena and I am glad that you have liked the recipes. Thanks for sharing your feedback. Stay Safe.

  3. Dear Dassana,

    Is there a particular reason why after frying the onion, you add the tomato puree first and then the ginger and garlic and not the other way around, as in most of your recipes? Just curious ???? Thanks!

    • hi esther, there is no particular reason. you can add it either way. the taste will be same – the ginger-garlic just need to be sauteed and cooked well. welcome and hope this helps.

  4. Hi
    I wish to cook this in slow pressure cooker or instapot
    Can you sugges how much time I would need

    • hi padmaja., i recently made dal makhani slow-cooked in instant pot. i kept for a time of 12 hours as even after 9 hours the lentils were not softened. initially, i had kept for 9 hours but then increased the time. i had used presoaked lentils. i would suggest you to make this maa ki dal in a slow cooker and not an instant pot. the reason is that an instant pot does not slow cook as good as compared to a slow cooker. it is best for pressure cooking. in a slow cooker, you can keep for 8 hours. hope this helps.

  5. 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.

  6. Thank you for this recipe!!!

    • welcome.

  7. I loved all the recipes reffered by Dasana .

    • thank you lakshmi priya.

  8. Came out well. Hope to make it better the next time4 stars

  9. loved it. The ease simplicity and taste was great.5 stars

    • thanks swati for this feedback on maa ki dal recipe.

  10. How old is this recipe? Has it been passed down from generations? Thank you. Great dish!5 stars

    • Welcome Victoria. I learnt it from my mother in law. she has been making it for many years.

  11. Thnx…your recipe is easy to understand..5 stars

    • welcome apurwa.

  12. In pressure cooker we have to cook for how many whistles? Usually urad dal takes 4-5 whistles. Pls confirm. I cook toor dal in cooker for 3 whistles n it’s cooked properly.5 stars

    • the time taken for cooking dals largely depend on their quality. usually whole urad dal takes more time to cook then white urad dal or toor dal. so you can cook for 8 to 10 whistles first and then check. if the dal is not cooked, then continue too cook for more whistles.

  13. So far i hv made so many of ur dal recipes. All big hit. Today i hv made this maah ki dal. Though no one hs tasted it yet…am pretty sure this too is gonna big hit. Thank u so much fr th recipe.

    • welcome supreeta. glad to know this. thanks for sharing your positive feedback.

  14. Hi,
    I want to make this recipe.
    I just have one question before I do.
    I am going to use 500grams of the Dal.
    How should I change the spice and other ratios?

    Thanks.5 stars

    • Welcome Irvin. I am afraid I can’t help you in this because i have not measured the weight of 1 cup of lentils in grams.

  15. Hi thanks for your recepie. I wanted to know can i pressure cook whole lentils? Instead of soaking it?

    • you need to soak them for at least an hour. so you can soak them in water for an hour or two. if in a hurry, then just soak them for 30 minutes in hot water.