Maa Di Dal

(Slow cooked Lentils in Creamy Gravy)

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Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 40-80 mins
Serves: 6-8
Recipe Source: 660 Curries

1 cup Whole Urad Dal/Black Lentils
½ cup Channa Dal/Split Chickpeas
½ cup Rajma/Red Kidney Beans, cooked and roughly mashed or 1 cup Cooked/Canned Rajma
2 Bay Leaves
2 pieces of 2 inch Cinnamon Sticks
4 Green Cardamoms or 2 Black Cardamoms
½ - 1 tsp Kashmiri/Deggi Chilli Powder or Paprika
½ tsp Turmeric Powder (Optional)
1 large Onion, finely chopped
4 large Tomatoes, very finely chopped or pureed
1 tbsp Tomato Paste (Optional)
¼ - ½ cup Fresh Cream (I used ¼ cup single cream)
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
¼ tsp Hing/Asafoetida (Optional but I recommend)
2 tbsp Fresh Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
1-2 tbsp Ghee/Oil
Salt to taste

Grind to Paste:
2-4 Green Chillies
1 inch Ginger
4-5 large or 6-7 medium Garlic flakes
Wash urad dal and channa dal 3-4 times in water till all the impurities are removed. Place it in a heavy bottomed pan or pressure cooker and add about 4-5 cups of water and bring it to boil. Skim the foam formed on surface.
Now add the ground paste of chilli-ginger-garlic, bay leaves, cardamoms, cinnamon stick, and turmeric powder. Cover the lid and let it cook for 60 minutes, stirring in between, till the lentils falls apart. If using pressure cooker cook for 20-25 minutes or 4-5 whistles. Let the pressure be released before you open the pressure cooker lid.
Heat ghee/oil in a pan and add jeera and hing. When jeera starts to sizzle and turn golden red shade, add finely chopped onion and sauté till it turns golden brown, about 2-3 mins. Add finely chopped tomatoes or pureed tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes in medium flame till the oil separates from the mixture.
To this add chilli powder, salt to taste, cooked lentils and mashed red kidney beans. Add about a cup of water to the pan in which lentils are cooked to deglaze it and mix this water to the gravy. Mix in the cream and let the whole gravy simmer for at least 15 minutes for all the flavours to blend well. Add little more water if needed but make sure that the gravy is thick and not runny. At this stage you can also add dash of lime/lemon juice needed.
Serve this delicious creamy Maa Di Dal, garnished with finely chopped coriander leaves and a dash of ghee if needed, with any Roties or Chapatti and enjoy. And yes, it tastes better when served next day.

Addition of Hing is optional but recommended.
To cut down the cooking time, you can soak whole Urad dal in water overnight or for 4-5 hours.
Replace cream with yogurt for healthy option.