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Maah Choley Ki Daal – Mixed Lentils with Spiced Oil

Howdy friends! The recipe that of this maah choley ki daal that I am sharing today is by far my most requested daal recipe, both by family and by friends. The beauty of this daal is in its simplicity and the earthiness of the flavors. A humble pot of lentils that scores highly on yumminess and nutrition scales. This daal comprises of split urad/black gram lentils with the skin still on (chilke wali kaali daal is what I call it) and choley/chane ki daal (split Bengal gram lentils). You can easily find these lentils at an Indian grocery store. If you cannot find split black gram lentils, you can also use split moong lentils with skin on. A pressure cooker is the quickest way to go, but if you have time and want to develop the depth of flavors over the slow cooking route – either in a crockpot or on the stove top, go for it!


Split urad/black gram lentils with skin – ½ cup

Split chana daal/bengal gram lentils – ½ cup

Water – 4 cups

Salt – to taste

Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon

White onion – 1, smallish, chopped

Tomato – 1, big

Fresh ginger – 1 inch piece, grated

Garlic – 2 cloves, grated

Green chili – 1, chopped (optional)

For the spiced oil/tadka

Ghee – 1.5 tablespoon (or use olive oil to make the daal vegan)

Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon

Asafoetida/Heeng powder – a pinch

White onion – ½ , small, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)

Coriander powder – 1.5 tablespoon

Red chili powder – ¼ teaspoon

Garam masala – ½ teaspoon

Fresh cilantro/coriander – 4-5 sprigs, finely chopped (optional)


Mix the lentils and rinse with room temperature water 2-3 times. In a pressure cooker (I use this one), add the rinsed and drained lentils along with 4 cups of water, salt and turmeric powder. Set the pressure cooker on high heat and add the chopped onions, tomato, ginger, garlic, and green chili (if using). Put on the lid of the pressure cooker with the weight on. After the first whistle, turn the heat to low and let the daal cook for 10 – 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and wait for the pressure to release by itself, another 15 minutes. If you are using an electric coil or flat stove top, you have to move the pressure cooker away from the stove so that the heat from the coil or flat top does not keep building the pressure in the pressure cooker.

After about 5 minutes of turning the stove off, start preparing the tadka or tempering or spiced oil with onions – whatever you want to call it. In a heavy bottomed, small frying pan (I use this), add ghee (or olive oil) and set it up on medium low heat. Once the ghee melts and heats up, add Asafoetida/heeng and cumin seeds and wait for the cumin seed to splutter. At this point, add the finely chopped onions along with a pinch of salt. Move the onions around and wait until properly bhoonoed (browned), about 5-7 minutes. Now add coriander powder and red chili powder and cook for another minute or two until the masala is browned (see the picture of onion garnish).

Open the pressure cooker lid, stir the lentils around with a spatula and add the spiced oil/tadka to it. Add garam masala and cilantro and the give the whole thing a taste check. Add more salt or garam masala if needed.

These lentils can be enjoyed as a soup/stew with a slice of hearty whole wheat toast or as regular daal with chapathi (recipe here) or rice (recipe here). Enjoy!

Love – Vaishali.


Drizzling more ghee (recipe here) on a bowl of hot daal is divine. Give it a try!

If cooking in an open pot on the stove, the lentils will take longer to cook, about 45 minutes and you will have to add another 2 cups of water (at least) as the lentils cook. Look for a consistency you like.

The daal thickens as it sits, so if reheating leftovers, boil about half a cup of water (depending on the quantity of your leftovers) and add to the daal, then heat it up in a saucepan.

I will add the slow cooker/crockpot version as soon as I try it..:)

In the pictures, you see the onions and spiced oil as a garnish, that is for demonstration purposes only..:P

The garam masala I use is homemade (I know I have promised you guys its recipe – coming soon!) and is very potent so I add just a small amount. If your store bought garam masala is not very strong, please adjust the amount to taste.

Tools used:

Pressure cooker (I use this one)

Frying pan (this)

Measuring Cups and Spoons

Knife and chopping board


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