Tarka Mash Daal

Mash Daal or Urad dal are split dehusked black lentils. They are rich in protein and full of health benefits. Mash Daal is cooked and utilized in many ways. My favorite is Mash Dahi Baray. My parents and husband like Dhaba Style Mash Daal.

Whenever I make Mash Daal I am torn between two methods. Punjabi Style Mash Daal is first boiled and then fried in a masala base made using onions, tomatoes sautéed with turmeric, red chilli powder and other spices. The spices give the daal a beautiful yellow hue.

My mom however has a completely different recipe. She uses lots of fresh ginger and keeps spices to a minimum, preserving the original white colour of the daal.

While the end results of both methods are extremely delicious, I will be sharing my own version today. My recipe is also without turmeric and tomatoes because although it tastes different, I want it to look like my mom’s Mash Daal. The one I grew up eating.


  • Mash Daal or Split Black Lentils 1 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil 2 tbsp.
  • Cumin Seeds 1 tsp.
  • Cloves 2
  • Black Peppercorns 2-3
  • Bay Leaf 1
  • Onion 2 small
  • Green Chilli 1
  • Ginger 1” pieces; 2
  • Garlic Cloves 2-3
  • Crushed Chilli Flakes ½ tsp.
  • Garam Masala ¼ tsp.
  • Chicken Stock Cube 1 (I used Knorrs Pulao Cube and skipped Garam Masala)
  • Ghee 2-3 tbsp.
  • Dried Red Chillies 2
  • Ginger 1 tbsp; julienned
  • Green Coriander 1 tbsp. (for garnishing)


Wash and Soak Mash Daal for 30-40 minutes. Boil Mash Daal in slightly salted water with one piece of ginger until soft. Make sure you do not over boil it. It should be al dente or else it will turn mushy when you steam it with the masalah. Drain water once daal is done and discard the piece of ginger.

Make a thick paste using 1 onion, second piece of ginger, garlic cloves and green chilli with a little water. Heat oil in a pot and sauté whole spices (cumin seeds, cloves, black pepper, bay leaf) for a minute. Add onion paste, stock cube, red chilli flakes and garam masala. Continue to cook on medium flame until oil begins to separate. Add boiled mash daal along with 2-3 tablespoons of water. Give it a good mix, close the pot lid, and let it steam on low heat for 10 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.

To temper the daal thinly slice the remaining onion. Heat ghee in a small pan. Fry sliced onion with dried red chillies until onion is golden brown. Pour this ghee mixture over hot daal. Garnish with julienned ginger and chopped green coriander.

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