Urad Chana dal also called Maa (Maah) Chole ki dal is a delicious protein-rich, vegan and gluten-free Indian lentil recipe. Made with split black gram (urad dal) and split Bengal gram (chana dal), this lentil dish can be served with rice or any Indian bread. It can also be enjoyed as a thick, nutritious soup.
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The dish which I am sharing today is another very simple and delicious lentil dish that is a specialty of North India. This dish is called Urad Chane ki dal in most of the North Indian states except Punjab and Himachal where it’s known as Maa or Maah Chane ki dal.
Next week, we will be shifting to a new house plus a lot of other things are also happening simultaneously because of which we are crazy busy these days. Most of our days start at 05: 00 am and we don’t get the time to relax till 1: 00 am so we end up eating out every night. Too tired to explore vegetarian options after an extremely hectic day these days we generally eat at Indian restaurants only as the cuisine is familiar to us.
After eating at these restaurants continuously for the last 2 weeks, I have realized that most of the Indian restaurants use the same spices in every dish, generally an overdose of garam masala which overpowers the other delicate flavors of the dish so almost every dish tastes the same.
It’s not something which we Indians eat at home every day. And, because of such restaurants, a lot of non-Indians think of Indian cuisine as something over spicy, hot, deep-fried, and overloaded with garam masala.
On the contrary, the home-cooked Indian food is very delicious, healthy, light, moderately spiced, and perfectly balanced. Of course, there are few dishes which are richer and spicier than the others but they are also not eaten every day and are reserved for special occasions, weather, and moods.
Today’s recipe Urad Chana dal is one such simple and easy lentil recipe which is cooked in Indian homes quite often.
What is Urad Chana dal?
Urad Chana Dal is a mixed lentil recipe from North India which is made using two different types of lentils –Urad dal (split black lentil) and Chana dal (split Bengal gram).
This dish is prepared by cooking these two lentils together and then tempering it with sauteed onion, tomato, and spices.
How to serve?
- This dish can be served with rice as well as roti or any other Indian bread. You can also serve a simple Indian salad like Kachumber salad on the side.
- Squeeze some lime juice and enjoy as a delicious Indian lentil soup.
- If you have some leftover dal, just knead it with some flour, extra seasoning and use the dough to make parathas (Indian flatbread)
How to cook Maah chole ki dal without a pressure cooker?
If you regularly cook Indian food at home then having a pressure cooker is a must. You can also use an instant pot to make this recipe.
However, even if you don’t have either of these appliances, you can still make this dish in a normal pot. That’s the traditional way of cooking this dal. Just wash and soak the lentils in water for at least 2 hours and then cook on low to medium flame around an hour or till the lentil gets nicely cooked and reaches a nice creamy consistency.
The rest of the process will remain the same.
Traditionally ghee (clarified butter) is used in this dal but since I am making it vegan, I have used mustard oil. If you are not vegan, use ghee to get the authentic taste.
More vegan/ vegetarian lentil curry recipes
If you are looking for more ideas to include lentils and beans to your diet, then don’t miss to check the following recipes on my blog:
Step by step photo instructions
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Urad Chana Dal
- Pressure cooker/ instant pot
- 1 cup urad dal split black gram
- ¼ cup chana dal split Bengal gram
- 1 medium-sized onion finely chopped
- 1 medium-sized tomato finely chopped
- 1 green chili finely chopped
- 4-5 garlic cloves finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon ginger grated
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves crushed
- 1-2 dried whole red chilies broken into 3-4 pieces each
- ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder optional
- ½ tbsp coriander powder
- Salt as per taste
- 1 tbsp cooking oil if not vegan, use ghee
- 5 cups water adjust to get the required consistency
- Wash the lentils and put in a pressure cooker with salt, turmeric powder, and water. Cook till 4 whistles on medium flame. Switch off the gas and keep aside.
- Heat oil in a pot, add dry red chili pieces and fenugreek seeds. Saute for about a minute or till they become fragrant and change color.
- Add garlic and saute till its raw smell goes away.
- Next, add the onion. Saute till it starts turning golden brown.
- Once the onion turns brown, add red chili powder, and coriander powder with around a tablespoon of water to avoid burning of spices. Saute for a few seconds till the spices become fragrant.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and green chilies. Mix and cook till tomatoes mushy and get nicely cooked.
- Pour the boiled lentil to the pot. Add garam masala, crushed fenugreek leaves, grated ginger, and coriander leaves. Mix well, cover and allow to simmer for around 5 minutes.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve with rice or any Indian bread
Ellen Mika Zelasko
I am really enjoying your posts, and cannot wait to try some of your recipes. Pinned this one too!
Appreciate your explanation of Indian ingredients. It helps a lot.
Thank you so much Ellen, glad that you find it useful 🙂
I've never had any lentil dish before but I must say that this looks so appealing. It looks like something I should try. Thanks for the recipe.
Thank you Viano 🙂
Jen @ JENRON DESIGNS
The flavor profile sounds tasty while I have not had this particular dish before it reminds me bit of a dahl mixture, in a soup form with all the lentils and spices which sounds great.
Thanks a lot, Jen.
Thanks for sharing your recipe! We are trying to eat vegetarian more often in our household and I never really know what to do with lentils. This will have to go on my "must try" list 🙂
Thanks a lot Jenny 🙂
I love this post. I have tried to cook these lentils before, but they did not turn out very well. Your recipe and explanation are very helpful and have inspired me to try again!
Thanks a lot Hannah.