Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Maa ki Daal in the True Sense of It

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you'll know that I write a lot about food-related things, but have never posted a recipe. This is a first for me. I have always wanted to participate in something that is food-blog related. Go back to this post, and you'll see my love for food blogs. The number of food blogs I have bookmarked since writing that blog has significantly gone up. It is all these amazing food blogs that I follow that has given me the inspiration to write this blog post. In my next post I will write about how these food blogs are more than just a platform to share recipes.

Here is my recipe for the Indian Food Palooza event that Prerna of Indian Simmer and two other bloggers have created. Apart from the fact that this dal is called Maa ki daal, the post is titled 'Maa ki daal in the true sense of it' as this recipe has been passed down to my sister and I by our mother. Maa ki daal is Hindi for lentils cooked by mom. It is very simple, and if you are new to the world of Indian cooking, you will find this recipe very simple to follow. It comes very close to the black dal you eat at a restaurant. In the picture, along with the dal, are jeera rice and simple potato vegetables. The jeera rice goes very well with the dal. If you are short of time or feel lazy, then by all means, please use plain rice.

My sister and I have a lot of great memories associated with this simple rice and dal dish. Whenever mom made this, it meant an escape from the usual evening meal. It also meant we got a more delicious meal, than the one we had everyday. And finally, I love everything associated with rice. So having this dal with rice and papad was a great break from the routine and we looked forward to these dinners. Here is the recipe:

• 3/4 cup Whole urad dal (black in color), also known as Black Gram
• 1/4 cup Chana dal (Bengal gram)
• 1/4 can of red kidney beans (optional)
• 3-4 cloves of Garlic
• Cinnamon sticks
• 1 tsp Ghee
• 2 pieces of Laung (clove)
• Cumin seeds
• 1.5 tsp Cumin powder
• Chilly powder
• Garam masala (very optional)
• Dry red chilies (very optional)
• 1 - 1.5 tbsp Yogurt

1. Take 3/4 cup of dal and 1/4 cup of chana dal.
2. Wash the urad dal and chana dal and cook in the pressure cooker.
3. Once cooked, run a hand blender through it, so that you have small pieces of dal. keep in mind the consistency you have in a restaurant. i like that you can chew the dal. so i blend it till the dal breaks, but is not all mushed up
4. In another pan, take 1/2 - 3/4 tsp of ghee (clarified butter). and add cumin seeds and one and a half dry red chillies. Omit the dry red chillies if you don't have them or like a mild flavor.
5. once they start popping, add finely chopped three to four cloves of garlic. A and I love garlic, so I add lots of it. You can use lesser than three cloves, depending on your taste.
6. Cook it just a little. Don't let it brown. Do keep in mind that the garlic browns very fast.
7. Lower the heat and add about 1.5 tsp of cumin powder, salt to taste and chilli powder. If you prefer mild food, add less.
8. Roast a little, and let the dry spices with the garlic and ghee.
9. Then add the blended daal.
10. Add water if needed - to improve the consistency.
11. Cook for sometime and heat till you get bubbles for a minute or two.
12. Add yoghurt at the very end. I used to add light or heavy cream some years back. But smooth yogurt gives the same richness as the cream. Keep on the gas for just about a minute after adding yogurt. It is only to get the richness. Tastes really nice. Again - if you're making for 4 people, you won't need more than 1 -1.5 tablespoon of yoghurt.
Voila - dal is ready! Like a lot of Indian dishes, this dal will taste even better the next day. Enjoy with rice or hot-of-the-stove chapatis!



• 1 cup rice
• 1 tsp ghee
• 1 - 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
• Salt to taste

1. Cook the rice as you generally do.
2. In a small pan (a 1-egg maker pan is best for this purpose), take the ghee and cumin seeds and heat it.
3. When the seeds begin to splutter, add the ghee with the seeds to the rice.
4. Sprinkle some salt to taste.
5. Fluff the rice and mix the ghee, cumin seeds and rice with a dinner fork. This will ensure equal mixing and more importantly, the rice will not break.
6. Cover the rice after it is cooked - to preserve the aroma of the cumin seeds.
7. Serve with dal.

NOTE: A good addition maybe to take very little oil or ghee and roast cashew nuts till they turn light brown in color. Set them on a paper towel for the extra oil or ghee to be absorbed. Before serving, garnish the rice with cashew nuts


  1. Getting hungry now...

  2. Platter looks yum,,I am craving for some dal now,..

    1. Hello,
      Thanks for stopping by the blog and commenting! Wish I could send you some, for real and not just virtually.