Black Daal or “Kaali Daal”

“Kaali Daal”- Serves 6

Black “daal” or “Mah ki daal” or “Kaali Daal” is a creamy, tasty lentil preparation that goes well with Indian bread and other rice preparations as well. Made with whole black gram, fresh ginger, red chilly powder, fresh garlic paste, cumin seeds, cream (I use 2% milk instead) and fresh cilantro. The longer you let the lentils cook the better – usually 3+ hours.


  • 1 cup whole black gram “urad dal”
  • 3 medium tomatoes grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon oil (I use canola cooking oil)
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of fresh chopped ginegr
  • salt to taste

Tempering the lentil

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 green chilly finely chopped (I use Thai hot green chilly)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilly powder
  • 3 cloves garlic, freshly grated
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro/ coriander leaves
Wash the lentils and soak them overnight in water.
The next day, drain the water. Transfer the lentils in a pressure cooker and add oil, baking soda, tomatoes, salt to taste and 2 1/2 cups water. Pressure cook this on medium high heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Wait for 3 pressure cook whistles and let it cool off.
Note: If you don’t have a pressure cooker, simply cook the lentils for 40 minutes by adding enough water to it.
After it’s cooled, mash the lentils in the cooker with a potato masher. Transfer to a heavy bottomed vessel like a dutch oven. Add ginger, milk, 2 cups of hot water Β and salt to taste. Let this cook on low heat for 3 hours. After every 1/2 hour, stir it to make sure it does not burn.
Heat butter in a small saucepan. Add cumin seeds, green chilly, red chilly powder. Fry this for a few seconds.
Add the garlic paste and cilantro. Fry this for 2 minutes. Add this to the the lentils and cook for another 1 hour.
Taste for seasonings and serve hot. Enjoy!

Note: As this “Daal” sits, it gets thicker. At the time of serving, you may need to add some hot water and heat it.

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