Dal Mash
Dal Mash
5 from 5 votes
An authentic urad dal recipe made with split black gram lentils, onions, tomatoes, and a load of spices. Daal is every Desi’s comfort food. Hearty, warming, and delicious, this dal recipe is sure to be loved by everyone.
Daal Mash

Dal Mash, a name that might sound exotic to many, is a staple in numerous households across the Indian subcontinent. Its journey began from the kitchens of North India and Pakistan, soon making its way into the hearts and homes of food lovers everywhere.

If I had to describe it in one sentence, I’d say it’s a harmonious melody of flavours where the lead singer is the ever-so-creamy split black gram or ‘urad dal’.

The difficulty level? I wouldn’t quite call it beginner, but it’s certainly not something that requires you to be a culinary genius either. It’s a cosy middle, ensuring that whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned chef, you can take a crack at it with fair confidence.`

Now, let’s talk variations because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a little twist to the traditional? While the classic recipe calls for black gram lentils, some adventurous souls (like yours truly) have dabbled with other types of lentils, adding a unique touch to this age-old dish.

But let’s not forget the role of spices in the Dal Mash. It’s like an orchestra, where each spice plays its part, culminating in a symphony of flavours. The chilli brings that kick, the turmeric lends that golden hue, and the cumin, ah, it’s the note that binds it all together.

Pair it with a side of soft, fluffy chapatis, and you’ve got yourself a meal that’s not just nutritious but soul-soothing.

Imagine a chilly winter evening, where you’re wrapped in your cosiest blanket, a bowl of piping hot Dal Mash in hand, savouring every spoonful, as it warms not just your body but your soul.

Or a bustling summer afternoon, where amidst the cacophony of life, this dish offers a moment of respite and a burst of flavour.

In closing, the beauty of Dal Mash lies not just in its flavours but also in its versatility.

It’s a dish that welcomes improvisation, embraces every palate, and promises a culinary experience that’s both comforting and exotic. Whether you’re whipping it up on a lazy Sunday or serving it at a grand dinner party, it’s a recipe that promises to shine.

What Ingredients to Use & Why

It’s often said that the soul of any dish lies in its ingredients. When it comes to Dal Mash, the combination of select ingredients not only creates a dance of flavours but also makes for a nutritious, hearty meal.

Let’s delve into the specifics of these ingredients, explore their unique contributions, and unearth possible alternatives.

Olive Oil: Ah, the golden elixir! It gives our Dal Mash that rich texture and distinct Mediterranean touch. Its health benefits are aplenty, boasting good fats. But if olive oil isn’t up your alley or you’re aiming for a more traditional taste, ghee or butter can be equally delightful choices.

Lentils (Split Black Gram – Urad Dal): The main character of our story. Black gram lentils are not just hearty but are packed with proteins and fibre. They bring a velvety texture to the dish. Don’t have black gram? Moong or masoor lentils can be decent stand-ins, though the taste and texture will vary.

Onions: These add a touch of sweetness when caramelized, lending a depth of flavour to the Dal Mash. An indispensable component, it also aids in thickening the gravy to the right consistency. If onions aren’t your thing, shallots can be a nifty alternative.

Garlic Paste: This brings an earthy, pungent kick. It’s not just a flavour enhancer, but a health booster too, known for its myriad benefits. If you’re in a bind, garlic powder or finely minced garlic cloves will do the trick.

Ginger: The zesty, peppery touch! Ginger complements garlic beautifully, giving the Dal Mash a fresh and invigorating undertone. Ginger powder can be a quick replacement if fresh isn’t available.

Tomatoes: They introduce a tangy zest, balancing the richness of the lentils. They also add a vibrant colour to the mix. Tomato puree or even canned diced tomatoes can be a time-saving alternative.

Chilli Powder: For those who love that fiery kick! It elevates the dish, giving it warmth and heat. For those who prefer a smokier flavour, paprika is an interesting twist.

Turmeric Powder (Haldi): This lends the Dal Mash its iconic golden hue. Apart from the colour, it’s known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. If you’re out of turmeric, leaving it out won’t harm the dish, though the colour might be less vibrant.

Salt: It binds all flavours together. While regular table salt works, you could experiment with pink Himalayan or sea salt for a different mineral profile.

Cumin Powder: It imparts an aromatic, nutty flavour. A dash of it and the dish is immediately uplifted. In its absence, ground caraway seeds can mimic its unique taste.

Green Chillies: These add an additional layer of heat. Depending on your tolerance, they can be adjusted. Jalapenos or serrano peppers can stand in their place if needed.

Coriander (Dhaniya): Fresh and fragrant, coriander leaves are the final garnish, adding a burst of freshness and colour. Parsley can be a substitute if coriander is unavailable, though the flavour profile will shift slightly.

The Timeless Beauty of Dal Mash

When I first encountered Dal Mash, it was like stumbling upon an old-world charm in the middle of a bustling city.

Here was a dish that whispered tales from ancient kitchens while holding its own amidst contemporary dishes. The creamy texture, the harmonious melding of spices, and the rich aroma – it was love at first taste for me.

Dal Mash, for the uninitiated, is a delightful concoction of split black gram lentils drenched in a thick, flavourful gravy.

Originating from North India and Pakistan, it holds a special place in the culinary landscape of the subcontinent. For centuries, families have been serving this dish, passing down recipes from one generation to another.

One of the standout features for me has always been its adaptability. Whether it’s a grand dinner party with a spread that would make royals envious, or a simple home-cooked meal for one, Dal Mash fits in seamlessly. It complements bread like chapatis, naans, or even a bed of steaming rice.

But it’s not just about the taste. Whenever I prepare this dish, there’s a certain kind of therapy involved.

From soaking the lentils, to sautéing the onions till they’re golden brown, to letting the spices simmer and release their magic – it’s a dance. A dance where each step, each ingredient, and each stir of the spoon adds to the crescendo.

Many ask if there’s a secret to making the perfect Dal Mash. To that, I say, it’s patience. Allow the lentils to soak, give the spices their time to blend, and most importantly, let love be the main ingredient.

Diving Deeper into the Spices of Dal Mash

Ever since I dabbled in the culinary world, spices have fascinated me. It’s almost like alchemy. A pinch here, a dash there, and suddenly, what was mundane becomes extraordinary. This transformative power of spices comes to the fore in dishes like Dal Mash.

Take turmeric, for instance. The first time I added it to my Dal Mash, the golden hue it lent was almost magical. But beyond aesthetics, it’s a powerhouse of health benefits.

Renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties, it’s an ingredient that marries health with taste. Every time I sprinkle some into the pot, I’m reminded of the golden sunsets back in my hometown.

Then there’s the cumin. Oh, how I adore the nutty, earthy aroma it releases! For me, cumin in Dal Mash is like that plot twist in a novel – unexpected but utterly delightful. It brings depth, an undertone that elevates the dish from good to memorable.

However, no talk about spices in Dal Mash can be complete without the mention of chilli powder. For those like me, who crave a bit of fire in their food, it’s indispensable. It doesn’t just add heat; it adds character. Every bite with the right amount of chilli sings on the palate, a melody of warmth and flavour.

And let’s not forget the humble salt. Often overlooked, but without it, even the most exquisite dishes can taste bland. Salt in Dal Mash is the silent hero, the one that ties everything together, ensuring each flavour shines yet complements the other.

Dal Mash has been a testament to the beauty of spices. It’s a dish that reminds me that sometimes, it’s the simple ingredients, added with care and love, that make all the difference.

Whenever I dive into a bowl, I’m not just savouring food; I’m embarking on a journey through the rich tapestry of spices, each with its own tale to tell.

The Olive Oil Chronicles in Dal Mash

Every culinary enthusiast like me has their favourite ingredient, and for me, it’s olive oil. When I incorporate it into traditional dishes, especially Dal Mash, it’s like painting a classic with contemporary strokes. The result? An artwork that respects tradition while bringing something new to the table.

Olive oil, with its Mediterranean origin, may seem like an unconventional choice for a classic North Indian and Pakistani dish. But herein lies the beauty. The smooth, almost buttery texture it imparts to Dal Mash is unparalleled.

The first time I swapped my usual oil with this golden elixir, the transformation was palpable. The lentils embraced it, resulting in a creamier consistency that was simply irresistible.

But it’s not just about the texture. Olive oil comes with its own bouquet of flavours. It carries hints of olives, sometimes fruity, sometimes earthy, and it’s this delicate balance that plays wonderfully with the spices in Dal Mash. Every spoonful becomes a delightful surprise.

Beyond taste, the health benefits of olive oil make it a stellar choice. Rich in monounsaturated fats and packed with antioxidants, it’s a heart-friendly option. Whenever I drizzle it into the pot, there’s an underlying satisfaction of making a healthier choice.

The Unsung Heroes: Onions and Tomatoes in Dal Mash

Some ingredients emerge not just as mere additions but as the very foundation of a dish. In the realm of Dal Mash, two such heroes are onions and tomatoes. Together, they craft a canvas upon which other flavours come to life.

The first time I caramelized onions for my Dal Mash, the kitchen was filled with an aroma that was both sweet and savoury.

Those golden-brown slices became the base of my dal, adding richness and depth. They soaked in the spices, becoming soft, almost melt-in-the-mouth, and in every bite, there was a hint of their sweetness.

But onions alone can be overpowering. Enter tomatoes. The tangy freshness of tomatoes cuts through the richness, balancing the dish beautifully.

When I first added tomatoes after the onions, it was like watching a culinary symphony. The acidity of the tomatoes, combined with the sweetness of the onions, created a perfect harmony.

Yet, it’s not just about flavour. The vibrant red of the tomatoes contrasts beautifully with the golden brown of the lentils. As an avid cook, presentation matters to me, and the tomatoes lend Dal Mash a visual appeal that’s hard to resist.

While spices and lentils often steal the show, the unsung duo of onions and tomatoes is what truly elevates Dal Mash. They are a testament to the fact that sometimes, it’s the background players that truly make the dish shine.

Ginger and Garlic – The Dynamic Duo in Dal Mash

Whenever I think of these two, I envision a pair of superheroes in the culinary world, each with its unique superpower. When they come together in dishes like Dal Mash, it’s a spectacle of flavours, aromas, and textures.

Let’s talk about ginger first. This rhizome, with its woody exterior, is a treasure trove of flavours.

Every time I grate a piece into my Dal Mash, the entire dish undergoes a transformation. There’s a warm, spicy undertone that ginger brings, an aroma that wafts through the kitchen and beckons anyone nearby. Its slight zing adds layers of taste to the lentils, making every bite a fascinating play of flavours.

But ginger doesn’t stand alone. Garlic, with its pungent notes, pairs beautifully with it. As I sauté garlic paste, its robust aroma fills the air, promising a treat. What’s mesmerizing is how garlic, despite its strong character, doesn’t overpower. Instead, it provides depth to Dal Mash, making it rich and hearty.

The combination of ginger and garlic is a classic for a reason. Together, they bring warmth, piquancy, and an earthy robustness. They enhance the lentils, the spices, and even the olive oil.

Every spoonful of Dal Mash that has been blessed with these two becomes an experience – a dance of warmth, zest, and richness.

Health-wise too, they’re rockstars. Garlic, with its potential anti-inflammatory properties, and ginger, often hailed for its digestive benefits, make the dish not just tasty, but also a healthier choice. Every time I cook with them, I know I’m nourishing my body and soul.

The Colourful World of Chili – Green and Red in Dal Mash

When I delve into the universe of chillies, it feels like I’m exploring a spectrum of flavours, colours, and heat. From the fiery red to the vibrant green, each chilli holds its own magic, especially when it graces dishes like Dal Mash.

Let’s embark on the journey with red chilli powder. The first time I sprinkled this fiery dust into my pot of Dal Mash, it was like adding a spark. Not just in terms of heat, but in colour too.

The rich red hue it imparts makes the dish visually appetizing. But what truly fascinates me is its ability to add warmth. Every mouthful becomes a delightful warmth, a heat that’s comforting, especially on cold days.

On the other hand, we have the green chillies. Slender, vibrant, and potent, they bring a freshness to the table. When I toss them into my Dal Mash, they impart a zesty punch. Unlike red chilli powder, which is more about warmth, green chillies add a sharpness, a bite that’s invigorating.

It’s incredible how these two chillies, although similar in many ways, bring different dimensions to the Dal Mash. One offers warmth and depth, while the other brings zest and vibrancy.

Beyond flavour, they also come with health perks. Capsaicin, a compound found in chillies, has been researched for its potential health benefits, including boosting metabolism.

A Dive into the Golden Waters of Turmeric in Dal Mash

This golden-hued spice holds a special place in my culinary heart. Every time I sprinkle it into a dish, especially one as beloved as Dal Mash, I’m instantly transported into a world of rich traditions, potent health benefits, and a tapestry of flavours.

Turmeric, often termed the ‘Golden Spice’, brings a world of colour to Dal Mash. Its vibrant shade turns the lentils into a canvas of rich yellows, a sight that’s as appetizing as it is beautiful.

But what truly enthrals me about turmeric is the earthy, slightly bitter flavour it imparts. It’s a subtle note, one that plays beautifully with the robustness of garlic and the zing of ginger.

But it isn’t just about the taste. The potential health benefits of turmeric, especially its active compound curcumin, are widely celebrated.

From being an antioxidant to possibly having anti-inflammatory properties, this spice is not just a feast for the eyes and palate but also for the body. Each time I stir it into my pot of Dal Mash, there’s a comfort in knowing that I’m infusing both flavour and health into the dish.

The Enigmatic Cumin – A Toast to Tradition in Dal Mash

When I reminisce about my early days in the kitchen, one spice always stands out – cumin. Its distinctive aroma, the sizzle as it hits the hot oil, and the nuanced flavour it brings, have always been close to my heart. And when it comes to a dish as classic as Dal Mash, cumin truly shines.

The moment cumin enters the scene, it transforms the dish. Its slightly nutty, earthy aroma is unmistakable.

As I sprinkle the cumin powder into the simmering Dal Mash, I’m met with a scent that’s both comforting and nostalgic. It’s a fragrance that has, over the years, become synonymous with home.

But cumin does more than just add aroma. It imparts a warmth, a depth of flavour that elevates the lentils, making each mouthful a complex play of tastes.

It complements the heat of the chillies, balances the earthiness of turmeric, and harmonizes with the piquancy of ginger and garlic. In many ways, cumin is the silent maestro, orchestrating a symphony of flavours in the pot.

Beyond its culinary prowess, cumin also packs a punch in the health department. Traditionally believed to aid digestion, it’s one of those spices that marries well-being with taste.

Every time I enjoy a bowl of Dal Mash sprinkled with this enigmatic spice, there’s an undercurrent of satisfaction, of tradition, taste, and health coming together in harmony.

Coriander – The Final Flourish in Dal Mash

In the grand finale of cooking Dal Mash, there’s always one ingredient I look forward to adding – coriander. This verdant herb, with its delicate leaves and aromatic scent, is the final touch, the pièce de résistance in my culinary creation.

Every time I chop up fresh coriander and sprinkle it over the simmering lentils, it’s as if the dish comes alive.

Coriander brings a burst of freshness, a zesty punch that cuts through the richness of the lentils and spices. Its aroma is both invigorating and comforting, evoking memories of family meals and festive occasions.

But it’s not just about the aroma. Coriander introduces a layer of flavour, a certain lightness that balances out the warmth of spices like cumin and turmeric. It’s that final touch, that flourish which turns a good Dal Mash into a great one.

Beyond the culinary realm, coriander has always fascinated me for its potential health benefits. Traditional medicine often hails it for its digestive properties. And in a dish as hearty as Dal Mash, it ensures that every spoonful is not just a treat for the taste buds but also for the body.

Each time I sit down with a bowl of Dal Mash, garnished with a generous helping of fresh coriander, there’s a symphony of flavours – from the earthy lentils to the piquant spices, and finally, the refreshing coriander.

It’s a journey, one that culminates in satisfaction, contentment, and sheer gastronomic delight.

Check Out These Other Recipes

Dal Mash, a sumptuous delight from the Indian culinary treasure chest. If you’ve fallen in love with this creamy lentil delicacy, then my friends, you’re in for a treat. Let me take you on another culinary adventure through the heart of India.

If it’s the deep, aromatic flavours of Indian cuisine that tingle your taste buds, you must try the Chana Curry. It’s a chickpea dish that dances on your palate with hints of aromatic spices, taking you down the lanes of Punjab with every bite.

Now, if Dal Mash had a robust cousin, it would be Tadka Dal. Prepared with a unique blend of spices and topped with a sizzling tadka (tempering), this lentil preparation promises a burst of flavour that is second to none. It’s that cosy comfort dish that feels like a warm embrace from a loved one.

For those who adore the symphony of spices and tender meat, Lamb Karahi is a revelation. This dish boasts succulent pieces of lamb simmered in a thick, spicy gravy. Every bite is an exploration of the depths of North Indian culinary arts.

Egg and Potato Curry is a simple yet delightful concoction. Imagine soft-boiled eggs and tender potatoes, swimming in a tangy, spicy tomato-based gravy. It’s like the comforting whispers of an old Indian folk song, soothing and memorable.

And to end on a sweet note, there’s the Rice Kheer. It’s a creamy rice pudding, kissed with cardamom and garnished with slivers of almonds. Each spoonful is like diving into a sweet lullaby that cradles your senses.

I invite you to dive into these dishes and experience Indian cuisine at its finest. And, of course, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to drop your feedback in the comments section. Who knows, maybe one of these recipes will become your new favourite.

Daal Mash

Dal Mash

by Nabeela Kauser
An authentic urad dal recipe made with black gram lentils, onions, tomatoes, and a load of spices. Daal is every Desi’s comfort food. Hearty, warming and delicious, this dal recipe is sure to be loved by everyone.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 6
Calories 276 kcal


  • 50 ml Olive Oil
  • 300 g Lentils Split Black Gram (Urad Dal)
  • 2 Onions
  • 1 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1- inch Ginger
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder Haldi
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 300 ml Water
  • 2 Green Chillies
  • Coriander Dhaniya


  • Wash and soak the black gram lentils for 30 minutes
  • As the lentils are soaking add the olive oil in the pan and heat on medium heat until hot
  • Add the finely diced onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned
  • Add the garlic paste and sauté for 1-2 minutes
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes
  • Add the chili powder, turmeric powder, and salt then cook the spices for 3-4 minutes – add a few tablespoons of water to ensure that the spices do not burn and to allow the spices to release their colour
  • Add the washed black gram lentils then cook for 4-5 minutes
  • Add the water and cover with a lid then allow to cook for 10-15 minutes – you may need to add more water if required
  • Add the cumin powder and chopped coriander
  • Serve immediately with homemade chapatis and enjoy!



Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 276kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 14gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 453mgPotassium: 661mgFibre: 17gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 510IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Cooking, Curry, Dal, Food, Lentils, Recipe, Vegan, Vegetarian
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Cook with Nabeela

Hi, I'm Nabeela!

I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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