Maa ki dal, also known as kaali dal, is a popular Punjabi dish. It contains butter & cooking oil in a controlled manner. Hence, you can say that this dal is healthy. I mean, you can eat it even without roti. Try it.

Why is it Called Maa ki Dal?

Maa ki dal is a phrase. The word meaning is lentils cooked by mommy, of course with love. This recipe is named such because it’s a comforting homely Dal that your Mum would make at home!

On the contrary, it is also famous as kaali dal. The reason is upfront. We have black grams in it & that is why it’s kaali dal, aka black lentil curry.

Now that we know it is maa ki dal, let’s try making it today. We will start with the item we require. Here we go.

Maa Ki Dal Ingredients

The below ingredients are bifurcated into two parts. The first part contains items to boil our lentils. The rest of them we will use to temper our boiled lentils. Here’s the list.

To Boil

We will boil split chickpeas & split black grams in water. Here we will add salt & green chilli paste. Grind mildly hot green chillies to make a paste.


  • Butter – For a mellow flavour, we will integrate butter in our maa ki dal.
  • Cooking Oil – The combination of cooking oil & butter incorporates better taste. Hence, don’t skip.
  • Garlic – For pungent & spicy solid taste. It’s a regular tadka item.
  • Cumin Seeds – Similar to garlic, cumins are also a regular tempering item. It adds a smoky flavour.
  • Green Chili – To enrich the overall taste & texture of our maa ki dal.
  • Onions – They integrate a mildly sweet earthy flavour. Moreover, they are essential in the tempering process.
  • Kasuri Methi – Dry fenugreek leaves induces a green texture along with the taste of a fresh herb. Don’t skip.
  • Turmeric Powder – It’s a natural dye. Additionally, it improves the overall taste & texture of the recipe.
  • Tomato – Sweet & sour taste along with required thickness is all due to tomatoes.
  • Red Chili Powder – It’s a routine masala powder. Add as per taste. We already have green chillies.
  • Coriander – Add as per taste—Wash & chop before using.

Before we proceed to make the recipe, there are specific prior preparations. Take a look.


  • Soak chickpeas & black grams in water for at least 4-6 hours.
  • Grind green chillies to make a thick paste.
  • Slit or chop garlic, onions & tomatoes beforehand.
  • Gather masala powder in an accurate measurement.
  • Use standard measuring cups & spoons to measure ingredients.
  • Read the recipe steps thoroughly before you begin the process.

Okay, now, let’s begin the cooking process.

Making Punjabi Style Maa Ki Dal at Home

It’s easy & the cooking process is a breeze. But, on the other hand, this recipe is a one-shot recipe. There are no complex procedures. Instead, the entire recipe includes two basic steps, viz boiling & tempering.

Boiling Your Lentils

Boil soaked lentils in a pan or kadhai. Add required items along with lentils. Make sure you don’t mash the lentils after they are soft. Keep them aside when they are thoroughly boiled.


The tempering process is as usual. The only twist here is the cooking oil & butter mixed. The reason we are using butter is to get a smooth taste. However, using only oil is more than enough. But wait, that’s not the authentic Punjabi style.

Unless you don’t add desi ghee or loads of butter, the maa ki dal is incomplete. Typical Punjabi recipes contain thick gravy. That’s why we are using butter here. It will not only add a smooth taste but also reduce extra teekhapan in the plate.

Add other items batch-wise and saute them properly and make a thick masala paste. Finally, add boiled lentils & cook for 10 minutes. Your maa ki dal is ready.

Hence, that was it with the Punjabi style tadka lentil recipe today.

Also Read:
Dal Palak is made with a unique North Indian Dhaba style double ghee tadka method. Cook lentils with spinach & temper using spice & masala.