Maa Ki Dal Recipe with Step by Step Photos – At home all my people love black lentils (black gram or kali urad dal) or punjabi kali dal recipe. This delicious and creamy punjabi lentil dish is made with whole black lentils (sabut urad dal), onions, tomatoes and the usual Indian spices. Calming, filling and filling meal when served with phulka, roti, paratha or naan.
In Punjabi these are called Mah di dal or maa di dal or manh di daal. At home, everyone called whole black lentils maa di dal.
Maa Ki Dal is also known as Kali Dal but it is not Dal Makhani. Let me tell you what is the difference between Maa Ki Dal and Dal Makhani.
Maa Ki Dal or Kali Dal is made only from whole black grams (Black Dal or Kali Urad Dal or Sabut Urad Dal). There are many ways to make this Black Gram Dal recipe. It can also be spicy or mild. It is also not a very rich and heavy dish, since butter is added instead of extra cream.
Whereas Dal Makhani is made from a mixture of whole black beans, kidney beans (rajma), and sometimes chana dal. It is a rich dish as it is made with butter, cream and sometimes yoghurt. It’s a Makhani dish.
Makhani means buttery. The word Makhani derives 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. These are two different dishes. Just to let you know There is another Punjabi dish called maa chole di dal – this one is made with black lentils and chana dal. It’s a staple at my house.
Usually at home I cook dal fry, dal tadka, various sabjis, pulao, khichdi, idlis, dosa, sambar. To me, these are simple, comforting foods.
This Kali Dal recipe is a light recipe with a spicy twist. I made this with sunflower oil and no butter or ghee. For a richer version, you can make it with butter or ghee. If you want, you can add a little cream at the end.
The key ingredients of this star dish, alongside whole black gram onions, are green chilies, tomato puree and crushed ginger-garlic sautéed with Indian spices.
Generally Maa Ki Daal is cooked and boiled in a pot. In modern life, we don’t have the luxury or leisure of cooking our dals in pots. The black lentils take a long time to cook in a pot.
I cooked the dal in a pressure cooker. It’s a quick cooking method and what can take hours is ready in 30 to 40 minutes. If you have an Instant Pot, you can also make this dish in it, adding water as needed.
Also remember to use fresh lentils as they cook faster compared to aged lentils. I also recommend soaking the lentils for a few minutes before cooking. Soaking lentils reduces cooking time and also helps get rid of the phytic acid they contain.
Maa Ki Dal goes very well with rotis, naan and even rice. If you like Punjabi dishes, try this amazing kali dal recipe. You and your family will love it. You don’t have to trust me You must make this at home and enjoy the maa di dal.
Step by step guide
How to make Kali Dal or Maa Ki Dal
1: Pick the sabut urad dal (whole black gram with skins), rinse in water 2 to 3 times. Later, drain the water and soak the lentils in a bowl of plenty of water for about 30 to 40 minutes.
The soaking time may vary depending on the quality and age of the lentils. Sometimes, even after about an hour of soaking, these ripened lentils take a long time to cook.
So you can soak sabut urad dal overnight or about 4 to 5 hours. So if you’re using old lenses or lenses that are close to their expiration date, soak them overnight. Later, drain the soaked dal.
2: Heat 2 tablespoons of ghee or oil in a 3 quart pressure cooker. You can also use butter instead of ghee.
Add ½ teaspoon of cumin. Keep the heat low. When they sizzle and crackle, add 1 medium chopped onion (about 1/3 cup chopped onions).
3: Stir periodically and fry the onions over low-medium heat until light brown or golden.
4: Now add the tomato passata. Stir and mix well.
5: Add the crushed ginger garlic or ginger garlic paste.
6: Add all the dry spice powders. In this photo below I’ve added the following ground spices one by one:
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder
7: Stir the spice powders and mix well.
8: Then add 1 finely chopped green chilli.
9: Fry the masala over low to medium heat until the oil runs out of the sides or separates. Be careful not to burn the masala while sautéing.
10: Add the drained and soaked sabut urad dal (black gram).
11: Add water and salt as needed. Stir and mix well.
Cover the pressure cooker with its lid and pressure cook the dal until the lentils are soft, tender, and thoroughly cooked, about 20 to 25 minutes. When the pressure in the cooker naturally releases, just open the lid.
Simmer the lentils over low-medium heat, stirring frequently. Mash some lentils with a spoon while the lentils are simmering. This will help thicken the consistency of the dal.
Cook and simmer until a creamy consistency is formed. I kept the maa ki dal a bit thin as we prefer thin dals in the summer. You can keep the consistency to your liking.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve Maa Ki Dal hot or warm with naan, kulcha, rotis or plain paratha. You can also have it with steamed basmati rice.
Maa ki dal | Kali Dal | Black Gram Dal | Sabut Urad Dal
Black Gram Dal or Kali Dal or Maa Ki Dal is a popular and delicious Panjabi lentil dish made with sabut urad dal, onion, tomato, herbs and spices.
preparation time 35 minutes
cooking time 25 minutes
total time 1 hours
cooking modePrevent your screen from going dark while preparing the recipe
Pick the sabut urad dal and rinse in water 2 to 3 times and soak 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 the dal. If the lentils are old or nearing their expiration date, soak them overnight.
Later, drain the soaked sabut urad dal.
Make maa ki dal
Heat ghee in a kadai or pan. Keep the heat low. Add the cumin seeds. When they sizzle and crackle, add the chopped onions.
Sauté the onions until brown, stirring frequently.
Add the crushed tomatoes. Stir and mix well.
Add the crushed ginger garlic or ginger garlic paste.
Add any dry spice powders. Add chopped green chilies.
Fry the masala until the oil starts to rise.
Add the soaked sabut urad dal (black gram). Add water and salt.
Cook Maa Ki Dal
Cover the pressure cooker for about 15 to 18 whistles, or 18 to 20 minutes, or until the lentils have become soft and buttery. If they’re still not well cooked, then continue pressure cooking for a few more whistles.
If the dal looks thin, simmer uncovered until it reaches your 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 or more spicy by adjusting the proportion of red chilli powder and green chilies.
- Again, this dal can be made thick or thin depending on what you prefer.
Maa ki dal | Kali Dal | Black Gram Dal | Sabut Urad Dal
amount per serving
Calories from fat 36
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
sugar 3 gr3%
Vitamin A 706IE14%
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
vitamin C 15mg18%
vitamin E 2mg13%
vitamin k 7µg7%
Vitamin B9 (folate) 14µg4%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
This Maa ki Dal Blog Archives post, first published in April 2012, was republished and updated on January 22, 2022.