Shahi Maanh Daal (Creamy Black Lentils)

Enjoy India's staple vegetarian dish simply with rice or as one element of a Punjabi feast
By Gary Rhodes
Shahi Maanh Daal (Creamy Black Lentils)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4 as a side dish
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 250 g whole black lentils, (sabut urad), washed
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp mustard oil
  • 75 ml Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp flakes sea salt
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida, (hing), available from Indian shops
  • 12 prunes, pitted
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1/2 tsp mild chilli powder


1. Tip the lentils into a heavy-bottomed large pan and stir in the onion, garlic, ginger and mustard oil. Pour over about 2 litres of cold water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until the lentils have softened and lost their shape.

2. Whisk in the yogurt, red chilli and salt and continue cooking for a further 10 minutes.

3. In a separate pan, warm half the ghee and sprinkle in the asafoetida. Cover and gently fry over a low heat for 1 minute. Asafoetida is a resin with a pungent aroma - don't be generous with the quantity you add, a little goes a very long way. Pour this into the dal.

4. Add the whole prunes to the dal and simmer for another 5 minutes.

5. Heat the remaining ghee in a small frying pan and fry the onions until golden. Stir in the ginger and cook for a further minute. Take the pan off the heat, stir in the mild chilli powder, and add everything to the hot lentils. Stir well and serve with hot naans or chappatis.

About Manjit Gill
With over three decades of culinary experience behind him, Manjit Gill has made cooking his lifes passion. He has specialised in European and north Indian cuisine. In January 2007, he received a Life Time Achievement national award from the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India. He currently works as a corporate chef for the luxury hotel company, ITC WelcomGroup.

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