Maa ki dal, also known as kali 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.

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 kali dal. The reason is upfront. We have black grams in it & that is why it’s kali dal, aka black lentil curry.

Maa Ki Dal vs Dal Makhani

Both dal dishes use black dal (kali urad dal), but there are still some differences between these dishes.

Maa ki dal only uses whole black gram always. There is never another dal that is used in that. On the other side, dal makhani is a mix of various lentils. Dal makhani consists of kali urad dal and rajma, sometimes Bengal gram.

Moreover, maa ki dal is not too rich or heavy since no cream or butter is added to it. Whereas dal makhani translates to buttery. Butter, cream, and sometimes yoghurt is added to it. Therefore, dal makhani is always rich and heavy.

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.

A Tip for Tempering

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 add a smooth taste and reduce extra teekhapan on the plate.

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.