Monday, December 26, 2011

Ma Ki Dal (Whole Urad & Kidney Beans Punjabi Style)

Ma Ki Dal is an amazing partnership between two legumes: whole urad and rajma or red kidney beans! It is also known as Kali dal (black dal) or Dal Makhni (buttery dal); but I like the name Ma ki dal = Mama's lentils :D. It is traditional, common fare in Punjabi cuisine and may be served with rice or breads. Black whole urad and red kidney beans are simmered slowly for a rich, buttery tasting thick stew.

Even though this is a very simple dal with minimal number of spices, the slow simmering produces exquisitely delicious succulent dal.

Ma ki dal provides yummy, rib-sticking abundant protein when served with the grains (rice or roti) and/or a bit of dairy such as yogurt. All you need to complete the feast are some green veggies.

4-6 Servings


1 cup Whole Urad beans with skin
1/4 cup Red Kidney beans
2-3 Dry Red Chile
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 Tbsp Ghee/Oil
1 small Red Onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1-2 cloves fresh Garlic, minced (optional)
1-2 fresh hot green chiles, cored and minced
2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp ground Red Pepper (cayenne)
Butter or vegan spread to serve


Sort, wash and cook the beans (no soaking necessary) with whole red chiles in water to cover until quite soft (the beans should not offer any resistance when pressed with fingers); this might take about 1 hour.

I use the pressure cooker to cook the beans and it shortens the cooking time and produces consistently well-cooked beans. See this post on beans for more info as well as tips on preparation.

Fish out the chiles, add salt, mash coarsely just a little with the back of a ladle and set aside.

Heat the ghee/oil in a large pan (at least 2 quart/liter size) and cook the onions with a pinch of salt until soft and beginning to color. Add ginger and green chili and saute until they are soft.

Stir in ground red pepper, paprika, & turmeric and cook for a few seconds.

Add tomatoes, mix well and cook until soft ; cool slightly, puree, and return to the pot.

Tip the cooked beans along with the cooking liquid into the onion mixture. Bring to a boil stirring often; then gently simmer for about 30 minutes over low heat.

Cover and allow to rest for about 10 minutes. Stir in the butter before serving or top individual bowls with a little bit.

Serve hot with rice or any kind of wholegrain bread. Enjoy!!

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