Maa Chole Ki Dal Recipe is a curry lentil staple that is made in every Punjabi household. If you love lentils, you’ll love this hearty, healthy dish that has a unique name and is made up primarily of two lentils – chana dal (split bengal gram) and urad dal (split black gram with skin). It’s a delicious and filling meal when served with a side of roti, paratha, or steamed basmati rice.
What about the name?
When I first heard the name, I was amused. I didn’t even know there was a lentil recipe with a name like that. Let me break it down for you
- ‘Maa or Maah’ here means Black Gram or Urad Dal.
- ‘Chole’ is Bengal Gram or Chana Dal.
In Punjabi we call this mixed lentil dish “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 or Gujarati Trevti Dal.
This Punjabi Dal is another fine example of making a spicy Dal recipe by combining the two lentils I mentioned earlier.
Both lenses are shared. But the black gram has its 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 Maa Chole ki Dal
This Maa Chole Ki Dal is minimally seasoned. We don’t season this dal with spices, but we use a fair amount of onion, ginger, garlic and green chillies.
They give the dal a certain depth in terms of taste and aromas. So that the dal doesn’t get boring.
If you have ever dined in Gurudwaras or Langars this Mah Chole Ki Dal will remind you of the Dal served in Gurudwaras. It just tastes too good.
The dal served there has a slightly thick consistency and a sweet taste. You can also check these Langarwali Dal (Amritsari Dal) and Dhaba Dal with a mix of 5 lentils.
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 learned to do this dal from my mother-in-law who has been doing this trail for many years. This is a family favorite recipe that I share.
I usually fry the spices, onions, tomatoes first and then add the lentils. Sometimes my mother-in-law makes a one-pot dal. She doesn’t sauté the ingredients, she just adds everything to the pressure cooker with a little butter or ghee and lets the dal cook.
You can also cook mah chole ki dal in a saucepan. Only that they take longer to cook. If you are cooking in a saucepan, soak the dal 45 minutes or 1 hour before cooking.
When cooking in a saucepan, the amount of water should be adjusted. Make sure the final consistency of the dish is not watery or runny. This dal has a medium consistency. I recommend using a thick-bottomed pot so that the cooked dal doesn’t stick to the bottom.
Step by step instructions
How to Get Maa Chole Ki Dal. power
Soak the lentils
1. Pick and rinse each ⅓ cup of Chana Dal and divided Urad Dal (with skins) a few times in fresh water. Then soak both lentils in water for half an hour. Then drain off all the water and set the lentils aside.
Make sure you are using fresh lentils and they have not aged. They should be in their storage time.
Searing spices, onions, tomatoes
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a 3 liter pressure cooker. You can use any tasteless oil.
First, spit out ½ teaspoon of cumin over low heat.
3. Then add ⅓ cup of chopped onion.
5. Saute the onion until light golden, stirring often over medium-low heat.
6. Add ½ teaspoon each of finely chopped ginger and garlic and ½ to 1 teaspoon each of chopped green chillies. Fry for 15 to 20 seconds or until the raw aroma of ginger and garlic wears off.
7. Then add ½ cup of finely chopped tomatoes. Fry, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes are soft and mushy and you can see oil oozing down the sides of the pressure cooker.
8. Now add ¼ or ⅓ teaspoon of turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon of red chili powder and 1 pinch of asafoetida (optional). Fry for 4 to 5 seconds.
9. Then add the soaked lentils. Stir and mix well.
10. Pour 2.5 cups of water.
11. Add salt to taste. Stir and mix again.
12. Cook under pressure for 8 to 9 pipes or 10 to 12 minutes over medium to medium heat until both lentils are soft and mushy.
When the pressure in the stove settles by itself, just open the lid and check the lenses.
13. If the lentils are not fully cooked and the water has dried up, add about ½ to 1 cup of water and cook under pressure for a while. Both lenses should get soft and mushy.
Open the lid when the pressure subsides on its own. Then let the dal simmer for a few minutes until it has a smooth consistency. If necessary, you can add a little water if the dal looks too thick.
The dal should not be watery or liquid, but rather have a medium consistency. When the dal is simmering, mash a few cooked lentils with the back of a spoon. Crushing some lentils will help thicken the dals.
14. Finally add ½ teaspoon of Garam Masala powder. Stir and mix well. Try the dal and add more seasoning powder and salt if needed.
15. As soon as the lentils have reached the desired consistency, add or garnish 1 to 2 tablespoons of coriander leaves.
Serving and storing
Serve Maa Chole Ki Dal hot or warm with chapati, paratha or steamed rice. Store leftover dal in a covered bowl or container in the refrigerator for a day.
This dal becomes thicker as it cools. While heating, add a little water and mix. Heat the dal in a small pan and serve.
If you are looking for more Dal recipes then check:
If you’ve made this recipe, please rate it in the recipe card below. Sign up for my newsletter or follow me on Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter for more vegetarian inspiration.
Maa Chole Di Dal
Maa Chole Ki Dal’s recipe is a staple food with curry lentils from the Punjabi cuisine. A hearty, healthy, flavorful dish with a unique name and made from two lentils.
Preparation time 30th Minutes
cooking time 20th Minutes
total time 50 Minutes
Cooking modePrevent your screen from going dark while preparing the recipe
Soak the lentils
Pick both lentils and rinse them in fresh water a few times. Soak them in plenty of water for 30 minutes.
If you have the time, you can soak the dal for 45 minutes or more to speed up the cooking.
Then pour off all the water and set the soaked lentils aside.
Fry the onions and tomatoes
Heat oil in a 3 liter pressure cooker. Add the cumin seeds and fry over low heat until they crackle.
Then add onions and fry until light golden brown over medium heat, stirring frequently.
Add the finely chopped ginger, garlic, and green chilies.
Fry for about 15 to 20 seconds or until the raw aroma of ginger and garlic wears off.
Add the tomatoes and sauté them, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes are soft and mushy.
Now add the turmeric powder, the red chilli powder, asafoetida and garam masala. Fry for 4 to 5 seconds.
Cook the lentils under pressure
Stir and cook 8 to 9 pipes, or 10 to 12 minutes, over medium to medium heat, until both lentils are soft and mushy.
When the pressure subsides by itself, just remove the lid and check the lenses.
If they are not fully cooked and the water has dried up, add about ½ to 1 cup of water and cook under pressure for a while. Both lenses should get mushy and soft.
Simmer the lentils
Open the lid when the pressure in the cooker has dissipated by itself.
Let the dal simmer for a few minutes until it has a smooth, medium consistency.
The dal should not be watery or runny.
When the dal is simmering, mash a few cooked lentils with the back of a spoon. This helps in thickening the dal. If necessary, you can add a little water if the dal looks too thick.
Check the seasonings and add more seasoning powders and salt if necessary.
Once the lentils reach the desired consistency, add or garnish with coriander leaves.
Serving and storing
Serve the Maa Chole Ki Dal hot or warm with roti, paratha or steamed rice.
Chill leftovers in a covered container or bowl for just one day.
- Lenses: Make sure you prepare this dal with fresh lentils. Avoid ripened lentils as they take a long time to cook and they also don’t taste as good as fresh lentils.
- Soak the lentils: You can also skip soaking the lentils. Increase the cooking time for unsoaked lentils. However, I recommend soaking them for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Consistency: Maa chole ki dal has a medium consistency. Don’t make it very thick or runny. The lenses also get thicker as they cool down. If they get too thick, add a little water while heating.
- Spice up: For a spicy dal, increase the amount of green chillies and red chilli powder.
- Gluten-free dal: Skip the addition of asafoetida or use gluten-free asafoetida for a gluten-free version.
Maa Chole Di Dal
Amount per serving
Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value *
Saturated fat 1g6%
Dietary fiber 10g42%
Vitamin A 321IE6%
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
vitamin C 6mg7%
Vitamin E. 4mg27%
Vitamin K 3µg3%
Vitamin B9 (folic acid) 8 µg2%
* The daily percentage values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
This post by Maa Chole ki Dal from the blog archives, first published in July 2013, was republished and updated on January 12, 2022.