7 Punjabi Dal Recipes to Make & Enjoy

Dal is a staple food within South Asia and in Punjab, there are some delicious dishes to try. Here are seven Punjabi dal recipes to make.

7 Punjabi Dal Recipes to Make & Enjoy f

It is a staple dish in Punjab and it is a versatile dish

When it comes to authentic Punjabi food, there are a variety of Punjabi dal recipes which will delight the tastebuds.

Also spelt daal or dhal, they are one of the most versatile, healthy and filling meals to have.

Its versatility is the main reason why it is so popular in South Asian countries like India. Most of the population is vegetarian and the plethora of dal dishes is why they opt for them.

Many dal dishes are regarded as classic Indian dishes.

Lentils are combined into a thick, hot stew and served alongside roti and rice. However, there are also dal recipes which are dry to fully showcase the lentil and its flavours.

As there are different types of lentils, it is natural that there is a range of dishes. Here are seven step-by-step guides to follow when making dal dishes from the Punjab region.

Dal Makhani

7 Punjabi Dal Recipes to Make & Enjoy - makhani

Dal makhani is renowned for having a creamy consistency and rich texture. This is because it is cooked with butter and sometimes finished with some cream.

It is a staple dish in Punjab and it is a versatile dish as it can be served as a side dish or as a delicious main meal.

This vegetarian option is great alongside roti but it also pairs well with rice.


  • ¾ cup whole black lentils
  • ¼ cup red kidney beans
  • 3½ cups water
  • 1 tsp salt

For the Masala

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 Onion, finely grated
  • 1½ cups water
  • ½ cup tomato puree
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 60ml cream
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Thoroughly wash and rinse the lentils and kidney beans. Soak in three cups of water overnight.
  2. When ready to cook, drain and transfer to a pot over a stove. Pour in the water and cook for one hour and 15 minutes on medium heat.
  3. Mash some of the lentils and kidney beans before reducing the heat and letting it simmer.
  4. In a large pot, heat two tablespoons of butter and ghee. When the butter has melted, add the onion and cook until golden brown.
  5. Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook until the raw smell goes away. Add the tomato puree and cook it until it has fully incorporated into the masala.
  6. Mix in the dal then add the garam masala, red chilli powder and salt.
  7. Pour in half a cup of water and stir. Let it simmer on low heat for 45 minutes. Stir often to prevent sticking and add water if necessary.
  8. Sprinkle in the sugar and mix well. Add the remaining butter and quarter cup of cream.
  9. Simmer for 10 minutes then add the remaining cream. Serve with roti and rice.

This recipe was adapted from Cook with Manali.

Chana Dal

7 Punjabi Dal Recipes to Make & Enjoy - chana

Chana dal is a delicious Punjabi dal recipe that is healthy and packed with protein.

It uses split chickpeas and it offers a more nutty flavour.

Cumin seeds are roasted and tempered in order to achieve the flavour. This is one of several dal recipes which use tempering as a method of cooking.


  • ½ cup split chickpeas
  • 500ml water
  • 1 Tomato, chopped
  • 3 Garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½-inch ginger, chopped
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste

For Tempering

  • ½ tsp oil
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped


  1. Soak the dal for at least one hour. Drain and combine with two cups of water in a saucepan. Cover and cook for 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, blend the tomato, garlic, ginger, coriander, turmeric, paprika and cayenne with half a cup of water until it becomes smooth.
  3. Mix the tomato mixture into the lentils. Season with salt then cover and cook for 15 minutes. Mash some of the lentils.
  4. Make the tempering by heating the oil in a small frying pan. When hot, add the cumin seeds and fry until they change colour.
  5. Add the asafoetida. When it sizzles, add the garam masala and cayenne. Gently add half of the tempering into the dal and mix.
  6. Remove the tempering from the heat and mix in the coriander. Pour the remaining tempering into the dal and serve.

This recipe was inspired by Vegan Richa.

Masoor Dal

7 Punjabi Dal Recipes to Make & Enjoy - masoor

Masoor dal is a popular choice in the Indian subcontinent when it comes to Punjabi dal recipes.

It is red in colour and is quite soft, meaning that it does not need prior soaking. The quick cooking time means it is an ideal meal.

This particular recipe has quite a rich sauce but it is filled with flavour and the lentils throughout means that the dish has a nice texture to it.


  • 2 cups dry red lentils, rinsed
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 Onion, finely diced
  • 6 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 Green chillies, minced
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • A small bunch of coriander leaves, chopped


  1. In a large pot, combine the lentils and water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer. Skim off any impurities. Partially cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small frying pan and add the onion, garlic, ginger, chillies and salt. Fry for five minutes or until soft.
  3. Add the spices and mix well. Add the tomatoes and cook for seven minutes or until the tomatoes have softened.
  4. Mix into the cooked lentils and simmer for five minutes. Garnish with coriander and serve.

This recipe was inspired by The Curious Chickpea.

Tadka Dal

7 Punjabi Dal Recipes to Make & Enjoy - tadka

Tadka dal is a popular Punjabi dal dish made with toor dal, one of the most common dals in Indian kitchens.

It uses a lot of ingredients and an array of spices, making it a special dish.

The cooking process involves tempering spices, adding even more flavour to an already flavourful dish.


  • 200g toor dal
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1½ tsp salt, divided
  • 3½ cups water, divided
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • 1-inch ginger
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1½ tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 2 Cloves
  • 1 Red onion, chopped
  • 2 Tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 1/8 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp coriander, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves


  • 2 tsp ghee
  • 2 Garlic cloves, chopped
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • ¼ tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder (optional)


  1. In a pressure cooker, add dal, turmeric, one teaspoon of salt and three cups of water.
  2. Cook on high heat for four whistles then reduce the heat and cook for four minutes. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, crush the garlic, ginger and green chilli and set aside.
  4. In a large pan, heat ghee then add cumin seeds, coriander seeds and cloves. Fry until fragrant. Add the onions and cook until softened.
  5. Add the ginger-garlic-chilli paste and cook until the raw smell goes away.
  6. Stir in the tomatoes and half a teaspoon of salt and mix. Cover and cook for eight minutes until the tomatoes are soft.
  7. Add coriander powder, garam masala, Kashmiri red chilli, red chilli, coriander and fenugreek. Stir for 30 seconds.
  8. Mix in the dal and optionally add half a cup of water. Simmer for four minutes.
  9. For the tempering, heat two teaspoons of ghee in a small pan. Once hot, add garlic, asafoetida and dried red chillies.
  10. Cook for one minute then add Kashmiri red chilli powder.
  11. Remove from the heat and pour over the dal. Mix well then serve.

This recipe was inspired by Cook with Manali.

Dry Moong Dal

7 Recipes to Make & Enjoy - moong

Moong dal is one of the most well-known types of lentil thanks to its vibrant yellow colour. It is also one which is able to maintain its shape after boiling.

While moong dal dishes can be soupy, this particular recipe is dry. No matter which variation, both are popular Punjabi dal options.

No soup ensures that the lentils are showcased to the max and there is a depth of texture.

This recipe features intense flavours especially because it is dry, so all the flavour goes into the lentils as opposed to the soup.


  • 1 cup split yellow gram lentils
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 Green chilli, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Coriander leaves, chopped


  1. Wash the lentils and set aside. Meanwhile, heat oil in a deep pan and add the chilli powder, turmeric and salt.
  2. Add the lentils and mix well. Pour in enough water to cover the dal then lower the heat and cover. Cook until the water has evaporated.
  3. Once done, take off the lid and increase the heat. Stir in the garam masala.
  4. Mix until the dal has completely dried. Once done, turn off the heat and transfer to a serving bowl.
  5. Garnish with green chillies and coriander. Spoon on the lemon juice and serve.

This recipe was inspired by Archana’s Kitchen.

Motha di Dal

7 Recipes to Make & Enjoy - motha

A well known Punjabi dal dish is motha di dal. It is a delicious dish made from moth beans.

It is proper comfort food as the lentils sit in a rich, tasty soup.

Not only will this dish leave you wanting more but it is also nutritious. Moth beans have a good supply of vitamin B, potassium, calcium and protein.


  • 1 cup moth dal, soaked overnight
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 Tomato, chopped
  • 1 Green Chilli, chopped
  • 1-inch Ginger, chopped
  • 4 Garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp dry mango powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • Sunflower Oil
  • 1 Green Chilli, chopped (to garnish)
  • ½-inch Ginger, sliced (to garnish)


  1. Heat a pressure cooker and add oil and cumin seeds. When sizzling, add ginger and garlic. Fry until softened.
  2. Add onions and cook until soft then add tomatoes and salt and cook until soft. Mix in all the spices then add the moth beans along with two cups of water.
  3. Season with salt then close the lid and cook for four whistles.
  4. Once done, remove from the heat and allow the pressure to release naturally.
  5. Pour into a serving bowl and garnish with green chilli and ginger. Serve with naan or rice.

This recipe was inspired by Archana’s Kitchen.

Dhaba Dal

7 Recipes to Make & Enjoy - dhaba

Dhaba dal is the name mostly associated with tadka dal and dal fry because they are prominent meals at Punjabi dhabas.

This particular recipe is dal fry and it is a dish filled with intense spices. Onions and tomatoes are cooked with various spices and the lentils are added along with water to create a wonderful sauce.

It goes well with rice as it absorbs the flavours of the sauce.


  • ½ cup split pigeon peas
  • Water

For the Dal Fry

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 Green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 Tomato, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves, slightly crushed
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • A few coriander leaves, finely chopped


  1. Wash the lentils under running water until the water runs clear. Place into a pot and fill with water until just covered. Boil until the lentils become soft then set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Add the onions and cook until they soften.
  3. Add the ginger, garlic and green chillies. Cook until the raw smell of garlic goes away.
  4. Add the tomatoes and mix well. Cook until the tomatoes become soft.
  5. Add the red chilli, coriander powder, cumin, turmeric, garam masala and fenugreek leaves. Mix well and cook for one minute.
  6. Pour in the dal and one cup of water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and let it simmer for five minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat and garnish with coriander. Squeeze in some lemon juice and mix well. Transfer to a serving bowl alongside rice.

This recipe was adapted from Spice up the Curry.

These Punjabi dal dishes boast an array of intense flavours and are filling, meaning they will provide a satisfactory meal.

While some dishes are more intense than others, these recipes show how versatile the different lentils are.

So for those who want to experience authentic Punjabi food, give these Punjabi dal recipes a go.

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”