Maash (Urad) Dhal (Dhal Maash)

Some will call this the ‘king’ of dhals some the ‘queen’ as it was a favourite of the Moghuls and is still the dhal of choice at formal dinners.

It is a pulse that comes in a black coating on the outside, and has a white interior when split and skinned.

Cooking this dhal is like cooking rice or pasta, the end result shouldnt be mushy and gooey but the dhal kernels should remain al dente and hold their own shape.  This is easier said than done! Trust me, it will come with trial and error and loads of practice.

Years ago mainly in the Indian sub-continent, newly wed daughter-in-laws were asked to cook this dhal and zarda (sweet) rice before they were given the run of the kitchen to cook for the family. Both these dishes require mastery of multiple skills and are not the easiest to make. Hmm! I wonder how we would fare if we had to do that?

The full recipe video is on Youtube by Easy Hoja, so check there if you need to.


  • 1 cup split washed maash/urad dhal (soaked in cold water for 4 hours or overnight)
  • half cup oil
  • 3 whole dry red chilies
  • 2 tbs ginger and garlic paste
  • 1 tsp whole cumin
  • 4 ozs fresh tomatoes crushed
  • 1.5 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • half tsp turmeric
  • 3 tsp chillie flakes
  • half tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbs dry fenugreek leaves (dry methi)
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 2 sliced green chilies
  • 1 tbs finely sliced fresh ginger
  • 2 tbs freshly sliced green coriander 


  1. Place 4 cups of water into a deep pan, bring to the boil, add the soaked dhal and bring to the boil. Keep on a rolling boil for 7-8 minutes, switch off and leave aside for 10 mins. Drain using a colander and discard the liquids.
  2. Put the oil into a karahi or wok, add the dry red chillies, when these start spluttering add the ginger and garlic paste and mix well, cook together for two minutes and add the cumin.
  3. Now add the crushed tomatoes, mix once and add the drained dhal, stir once and add salt, turmeric, chillie flakes, garam masala, methi leaves and pepper, cook together on a high flame for 2 mins.
  4. Cover and keep on a very low flame for 5 mins, add 2 tbs water if needed. Remove some dhal pieces into a plate and check that it is fully cooked but still al dente. Dhal is ready!
  5. Finally add the butter and green chillies, mix well and remove into a serving dish.
  6. Garnish with the ginger slices and fresh coriander before serving with hot chapatis or naans.

As this is a ‘dry’/’bhuna’ dhal, it is not suitable for serving with rice.


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About Me

I am Sabiha Khokhar, born in Kenya now living in London – a busy working mother, wife, published author and passionate cook. Despite having many interests in life, my greatest joy is FOOD!

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