Learn how to make Mash ki Daal or Urad Daal, Pakistani and North Indian style. It’s made by cooking Urad Daal (white lentils) with spices, and finishing off with a baghar / temper of fried onions. Recipe includes stovetop and Instant Pot / Multi Cooker instructions.
In the Indian sub-continent, the word daal / dal / dahl is the literal translation of lentils, and refers to the dish made from that particular lentil as well. So moong masoor daal (or red and yellow lentils) is used to make moong masoor ki daal, aka a lentil curry made from red and yellow lentils. Similarly, mash daal or daal maash is used to make Mash ki Daal.
What is Mash ki Daal
Mash ki Daal is commonly known as urad daal or daal maash, with the latter being the term used in Pakistan, and the former in India. This white coloured lentil is the skinned and split version of whole urad daal. Also called split black lentils as well. It's used in a variety of recipes – ground into a paste to make dahi baray, and used to make dosa, idli, and pappadums as well.
Mash ki daal can be made many different ways – dhaba mash ki daal that’s made at roadside restaurants in Pakistan with an onion tomato base and a gravy like consistency. There's bhuni mash ki daal which is a dry style preparation with the addition of tomatoes and turmeric.
The recipe that I’m sharing today is a family recipe traditionally made in Pakistani or North Indian households. It’s a dry or sukhi style preparation with a tempering of fried onions, and is eaten with roti / chapati or naan. It's known for it's distinctive creamy white colour.
The tricky part of making mash ki daal is getting the right texture – it needs to be tender and cooked through, without being mushy. Read on ahead for expert tips on how to prepare mash ki daal, stovetop and Instant Pot instructions included.
Only a few ingredients are required to make this delicious lentil recipe.
- Urad daal or Mash daal: This recipe uses skinned and split urad daal. Labelled as urad daal or white lentils at the Pakistani or Indian grocery store, it is creamy white in colour.
- Spices: Just red chili powder and salt go in this recipe. That’s to keep the creamy white colour of the final dish.
- Garlic paste: Make at home or buy a jar from the supermarket.I make mine once a month by grinding fresh garlic into a paste by using my NutriNinja. Store in an an airtight container in the fridge or freeze. For a quick garlic paste, you can grate garlic cloves using a grater, or push through a garlic press.
- Dried Red chilies: Add whole red chilies for flavour and aroma in the tempering process for this daal. I prefer to use whole red chilies, however, they are difficult to find abroad, so I end up using the regular dried red chilies.
- Onion: Use any type of onion - red, yellow or white onion.
- Asafoetida: Known as hing in Hindi, this is added for it’s garlicky flavour. Considered a digestive aid in Ayurvedic medicine, it can be found in Indian grocery stores. It has a pungent aroma, which dissipates after cooking. If not available, just skip.
Check out my guide on how to stock a Pakistani Kitchen + Pakistani Pantry List (with English translation and descriptions).
Make this recipe using a stovetop, a pressure cooker, a multi-cooker or the Instant Pot.
- Soaking: Wash the lentils, and then soak for at least 30 minutes if using a pressure cooker / Instant Pot / multi-cooker. If cooking on the stovetop, soak for 4 – 6 hours, or you can also soak overnight.
- Cooking – stovetop instructions: Bring the mash daal / urad daal to a boil with spices, garlic paste and water. Cook on low heat till the water is evaporated, and the lentils are tender. The lentils should be cooked through, yet still have a bite to them.
- Cooking – pressure cook instructions: This recipe can also be made in a pressure cooker, a multi cooker or an Instant Pot. Pressure cook the lentils with spices, garlic paste and water for 5 minutes, and then do a natural pressure release (NPR) for 15 minutes. Quantity of water to lentils should be in the ratio 1:2 with 1 part lentils, and 2 parts lentil. Settings can vary from model to model, so you may need to adjust time by 1 – 2 minutes.
- Baghar / Tarka: Baghar or tarka is known as tempering. It's a process that involves frying spices and other ingredients in hot oil (or ghee) and then pouring it into a dish for flavour and aroma. For the mash ki daal ka baghar /tarka, heat oil in a small frying pan and fry sliced onions till they are light golden. Then add the dried red chilies, along with the asafetida / hing. Pour the hot oil with the onions and chilies over the lentils.
Expert Tips & FAQ’s
If the mash ki daal is soft and/or mushy, it means too much water has been added or it's overcooked. This can happen if you don’t keep an eye on the daal as it’s cooking. Or if you soaked them for too long. It can also happen in the Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker if you pressure cook for too long. To fix the water issue, cook the lentils on high heat for a few minutes till the water evaporates. To fix the overcooking, reduce the cooking (or pressure cook time) next time you make them.
If the lentils still taste raw, that means they need to be cooked for a couple more minutes. If cooking on the stovetop, add about ¼ - ½ cup water, and cook for around 15 – 30 minutes till done. If using an Instant Pot, then add 2 tablespoons of water, and pressure cook for another 2 minutes.
These lentils can be made in any pressure cooker, multi-cooker or an Instant Pot. There can be variations in cooking time based on the brand and model that you have. The model that I have is a Philips All-In-One multicooker. If the lentils are soft and mushy, reduce the cook time by 1 – 2 minutes next time you cook them. If the lentils taste raw, add 2 tablespoon of water, and pressure cook for another 2 minutes.
If you are cooking the lentils on the stovetop, they should be soaked for 4 – 6 hours, or overnight. The lentils will increase in size once they are soaked, and the soaking process will also reduce cooking time. If you are cooking using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, then soak for 30 minutes only, else they can turn soft and mushy. If you have soaked the lentils for a longer duration, such as overnight, then it’s best to cook them on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on them.
Every household has their own way of preparing mash ki daal. Following are a couple of variations that you can try out to give a different flavour to the daal.
- Change the baghar / tarka or tempering ingredients. This is a quick and simple way to change the flavour of any lentil preparation. Add cumin seeds, or green chilies. Make a slit in the green chilies before you add them to the hot oil.
- Garnish the lentils with sliced ginger, sliced green chilies and chopped coriander leaves.
- For a version that’s similar to dhaba style mash ki daal, boil the daal separately. Then make an onion-tomato base by frying off onions and tomatoes in spices (red chili powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder). Then add the boiled daal, and garnish with green chilies and coriander leaves. Fry in ghee or butter for a truly decadent experience.
This dry style lentil preparation is best served with roti / chapati or naan. On the side you can add a raita or kachumber salad. To serve it as part of a dinner meal, I would complement it with gravy based dishes such as Pakistani chicken ka salan, Ginger chicken Pakistani style, or a Bhuna Gosht (Beef Curry).
Try out more Pakistani and Indian vegetarian / vegan recipes
Mash ki Daal (Urad Daal) – Instant Pot and Stove Top
For the mash ki daal
- 1 cup urad dal / daal maash / skinned and split black lentils – see note 1
- ½ teaspoon garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
Baghar / Tarka / Tempering
- 4 tablespoons cooking oil such as vegetable or canola oil
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 3 dried red chilies
- ¼ teaspoon asafoetida hing – optional (see note 2)
Cooking the Daal - Stove Top Instructions:
- Wash and soak the urad daal for 4 – 6 hours, or overnight.
- Drain the soaking liquid, and add the urad daal to a saucepan with garlic paste, red chili powder and salt. Add 2 ½ - 3 cups water and bring to a boil.
- Once the mixture has come to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook till the water has evaporated and lentils are tender. This process will take around 30 – 40 minutes. If there is still liquid remaining, turn heat to medium – high for a few minutes to evaporate the water.
Cooking the Daal – Multi Cooker / Instant Pot Instructions:
- Wash and soak the urad daal for 30 minutes.
- Drain the soaking liquid and add the urad daal to the Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot. Add salt, red chili powder, and garlic paste along with 2 cups water. The lentils to water ratio should be 1 part lentils to 2 parts water. Stir all the ingredients.
- Pressure cook for 5 minutes, using the settings for your model of Instant Pot or Multi cooker, and then do a 15 minutes natural pressure release (NPR). Do not release steam immediately.
- If the lentils still taste raw, add 2 tablespoons of water, and pressure cook for an additional 1 – 2 minutes. If the lentils are overcooked or mushy, reduce the amount of water and cook time by 1 – 2 minutes next time. See note 3 for further tips on getting the right texture of these lentils.
Baghar / Tarka / Tempering:
- Place the cooked lentils in a serving bowl.
- Heat oil in a small frying pan, and add the sliced onions.
- Fry the onions till they are light golden, and then add the dried whole chilies along with the asafetida (if using).
- Pour the hot oil with the onions and chili over the lentils, and serve hot with roti / chapati or naan.
- Urad daal or Mash daal: This recipe uses skinned and split urad daal. It’s labelled as urad daal or white lentils at the Pakistani or Indian grocery store and is creamy white in colour. Do NOT use whole urad daal – that is the whole version of this lentil and needs to be prepared differently.
- Asafoetida: Known as hing in Hindi, this is added for it’s garlicky flavour. It is also supposed to aid in digesting lentils. Hing can be found in Indian grocery stores – it has a pungent aroma, which dissipates after it is cooked.
- Getting the right texture: The tricky part of making mash ki daal is getting the right texture – it needs to be tender and cooked through, without being mushy.
- If the mash ki daal is soft and/or mushy, it means that you added too much water, or you have overcooked them. To fix the water issue, cook the lentils on high heat for a few minutes till the water evaporates. To fix the overcooking, reduce the cooking (or pressure cook time) next time you make them.
- If the lentils still taste raw, that means they need to be cooked for a couple more minutes. If cooking on the stovetop, add about ¼ - ½ cup water, and cook for around 15 – 30 minutes till done. If using an Instant Pot, then add 2 tablespoons of water, and pressure cook for another 2 minutes.