This recipe for urad dal (maash ki dal) is made in the traditional Pakistani, North Indian, or Punjabi way: bhuni/sukhi as in dry and firm, yet cooked through. I’ve tested and perfected this authentic recipe that’s beloved by all who’ve tried it. This recipe includes Instant Pot and stovetop instructions!

Plate of Maash Ki Dal (Urad Dal) with cucumbers and carrots garnished with sliced onions, green chilies and cilantro beside a plate of roti.

“Tried this today and followed your recipe to the letter – it turned out amazing! Reminded me of my childhood in Pakistan when my mum would make this as a simple lunch for summer afternoons. Thank you again for such an easy to follow recipe.”

Qurat

What is Maash Ki Dal (Split Urad Dal)?

Split urad dal is is the ivory white colored lentil that appears when whole urad dal is husked. It’s also called dhuli, or washed, urad dal.

It has taken me packets upon packets of urad dal (I’ve never seen it labeled ‘maash’, as we grew up calling it) to get the perfect al dente texture.

Nonetheless, I kept trying. Because if you’ve had this dal, you know it can’t escape you. You’ll see it staring at you in the obnoxiously versatile ‘dal section’ of the Indo-Pak grocery store, and you’ll want to relive a bite of it – enveloped in roti, chewy yet textured.

I don’t mind any version of this tasty dal, but my mother-in-law makes the best I’ve had. Since she’s been visiting, I’ve tried to recreate it multiple times, asking her detailed, probably trivial questions along the way – 1 ¼ tsp coriander powder or 1 ½?

A bowl of uncooked maash ki dal (urad dal).
Close up of a bowl of Mash ki Daal  (Urad Dal) with cucumbers and carrots garnished with sliced onions, green chilies and cilantro.

How to make Sookhi Urad Dal (dry)?

If you’ve tried making dal maash, you know getting the texture right is the biggest hurdle. Perfecting the soak time, cooking time, and the dal to water ratio is somewhat of an art. I’ve done my best to break it all down for you for both stovetop and Instant Pot.

Note: This recipe is for split urad rather than whole urad. These two dals are not interchangeable and cannot be swapped due to water ratio and cooking time.

Top view of a plate of Mash ki Daal (Urad Dal) with cucumbers and carrots garnished with sliced onions, green chilies and cilantro.

Tips for cooking perfect urad dal:

  • Fresh dal cooks faster than older dal. Dal is best used within a year of being picked and dried. If your dal has been in your pantry for longer than 9-10 months, you may need to increase the cooking time.
  • Contrary to my cooking instinct, my mom-in-law doesn’t brown the onion first, but adds the garlic and tomato alongside the onion. I’ve chopped it all in food processor to save time, but you can manually do so if you prefer.
  • The green chili peppers are added at the end, which means they must be comfortably hot. If your green chili peppers are too hot to bite into, remove the seeds, chop it into smaller pieces, and only use half.
Picking up some Mash ki Daal (Urad Dal) with a small piece of roti.
Top view of a bowl of Maash ki Dal (Urad Dal) with cucumbers and carrots garnished with sliced onions, green chilies and cilantro.

Want more dal recipes?

Instant Pot Pakistani Chana Dal
Instant Pot Red Lentil Dal
My Go-To Masoor Dal Recipe (Red Lentil Curry)

For more ideas, check out my Instant Pot Pakistani Recipes Roundup!

5 (17 ratings)

Pakistani Urad Dal (Maash Ki Dal)

Maash ki Dal, or sukhi (dry) split urad dal, may not be mainstream, but it's beloved by all who've tried it. This recipe makes it in the traditional Pakistani and Punjabi way – dry, as in firm, but cooked through – and adorned with delicate slivers of ginger and warming green chili peppers.

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup (200 g) urad (maash) dal*, split and husked black gram lentils
  • 1 medium onion, cut into quarters
  • 1 small to medium tomato, cut into quarters
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/3 cup neutral oil such as grapeseed oil
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 ½ tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 – 1½ tsp kashmiri red chili powder, use less if using cayenne or hot red chili powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 ¼ tsp kosher salt, or to taste

After Cooking

  • 1-2 green chili peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp julienned ginger
  • 1-2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice, optional

Equipment

  • Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker
  • Food Processor (Optional)

Instructions 

Instant Pot

  • Wash and soak dal in warm water for 30 minutes. Then strain.
  • Combine the onion, tomato, and garlic in a food processor and pulse to chop until a coarse mixture forms.
  • Heat Instant Pot to high Sauté mode. Once hot, add oil and the chopped onion mixture. Sauté for 10-12 minutes, until the mixture no longer has moisture and the oil starts to leave the sides.
  • Add the whole cloves, spices, and salt and stir for another minute.
  • Cancel Sauté. Add the lentils and 1 cup of water and mix well. Submerse the lentils within the water as much as possible. Cover with the lid and set to the top sealing. Pressure Cook on High for 4 minutes.
  • Allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes. Then manually release any remaining pressure and press sauté on high again. Taste and adjust salt.
  • Add the green chili pepper and ginger and sauté for another 1-2 minutes until all the water has completely evaporated and the oil starts to leave the sides. Turn off the Instant Pot. Stir in cilantro and lemon or lime juice, if using. This dal is best served with roti, paratha, naan, or other bread. I love it with some achaar on the side.

Stovetop

  • Wash and soak dal in warm water for 30 minutes. Then strain.
  • Combine the onion, tomato, and garlic in a food processor and pulse to chop until a coarse mixture forms.
  • Heat a medium, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add oil and the onion mixture and sauté for 10-12 minutes, until the mixture no longer has moisture and the oil starts to leave the sides. Add a splash of water and cook for another minute, until the tomatoes have broken down well.
  • Add the whole cloves, spices, and salt and stir. Add the strained lentils and 1 3/4 cups water and raise the heat to bring to a boil.
  • Once the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a medium-low. Cover, and cook for 22-23 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked al dente and the water has greatly decreased. Uncover, and taste and adjust salt.
  • Raise the heat to high, add the green chili pepper and ginger and sauté for another 1-2 minutes until all the water has completely evaporated and the oil starts to leave the sides. Turn off the heat and stir in cilantro and lemon or lime juice, if using. This dal is best served with roti, paratha, naan, or other bread. I love it with some achaar on the side.

Notes

*Be sure to use split urad dal, not whole urad. Split urad is ivory-colored, split and husked black gram lentil.
Calories: 346kcal, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 757mg, Potassium: 161mg, Fiber: 12g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 627IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 60mg, Iron: 5mg