Saturday, June 7, 2014

Simple Maa ki Dal with Greek Yogurt (no onion, no garlic, no cream recipe)

I have heard of Dal Makhani when I was growing up. Most restaurants that served North Indian food had this on their menu.  A really rich dal preparation made with tons of butter and cream.  I don’t think I have ever ordered this myself, but have tasted it occasionally in North Indian Thalis.

I had never heard of maa ki dal till I moved to the U.S.  My friend, Usha, makes this when she has us over for dinner.  She makes the whole thing in her crockpot and it tastes amazing.  Her recipe is not as rich and creamy as dal makhani, but tastes so good, that you will want to lick your fingers to get every last bit of flavor from the dal.

I don’t make this as often as I should – mainly because I don’t remember to soak the lentils/beans ahead of time.  But occasionally, when I am trying to do an inventory of the items in my pantry, I will find the whole urad tucked away in a corner, and will have a craving for maa ki dal.

no onion no garlic maa ki dal

I have not made this in the crockpot, but Usha says that it is a cinch to prepare.  She puts the rinsed dals with enough water in it in the morning and turns the pot on to low setting.  She makes the masala later and adds it to the cooked dal in the evening.

Here is what you need:

  • 1 cup whole black urad dal
  • ¼ cup chana dal
  • ¼ cup rajma
  • salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp. hing (asafetida)
  • ½” piece ginger, slivered
  • 3 tsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp. hing (asafetida)
  • ½” piece ginger, slivered
  • 3 roma tomatoes or 2 regular tomatoes, coarsely ground
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1 – 2 tsp. kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  •  2 – 3 Tbsp. greek yogurt
  • cilantro for garnish

Here is how I made it:

  1. Wash and soak the dal for several hours.
  2. Rinse the dal.  Add enough water, salt to taste, slivered ginger, and hing.  Place this in a pressure cooker and cook for 12 – 15 minutes on low heat after the first whistle.
  3. Turn off the heat and wait for the pressure to release.
  4. Heat oil in a pot.  Add cumin seeds.
  5. When the cumin seeds change color, add the hing and slivered ginger.
  6. Add the coarsely ground tomatoes.
  7. When the tomatoes are pulpy, add the coriander, cumin, and red chili powders.  Mix well.
  8. Fry on low heat till the whole thing looks well done and oil starts to separate.
  9. Add the cooked dals.  Check for salt and seasoning.
  10. Simmer on low heat so that the lentils absorb all the flavors (about 10 minutes)
  11. Crush the kasuri methi in the palm of your hands and sprinkle on the dal.
  12. Smash up the dal with a potato masher.  My family likes the dal to be whole - so I did not do this.
  13. Turn off heat. Add cilantro.
  14. Before serving, add a dollop of greek yogurt.

Serve with rotis, parathas, or rice.

1 comment:

  1. Great recipe. This is one of my signature recipes. I learnt this recipe from our dear punjabi friend Rajini who are our extended family. I just add all the ingredients incl. uncooked dal as well as all masalas in the crock pot and set it for low to simmer well for 5-6 hrs. Its just nicely cooked and ready to serve with hot roti or paratha for dinner with rice. Tastes great and very easy to prepare.


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