Himachali kali dal

Kali dal is a spicy and tangy black lentil curry that is popular in Himachal Pradesh. It goes well with rice or roti.


  • 1 cup whole/split black lentils (mah ki daal)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 large onions, sliced thin
  • 3 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, sliced
  • 5 tablespoons mustard oil
  • 4 tomatoes pureed with 5-6 cloves of garlic (or 1 1/2 small cans of tomato paste)
  • pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder (dhaniya)
  • 1 teaspoon dry mango powder (amchur)
  • 1 bunch chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste


  1. Pressure cook lentils with 2 tbsp mustard oil, turmeric powder, 2 big sliced onions, salt to taste and sufficient water. Keep aside.
  2. Heat 3 tbsp mustard oil in another pan and add bay leaves, asafoetida and cumin seeds and stir for a minute.
  3. Add sliced ginger, chopped onions and fry till the onions begin to brown.
  4. Add coriander powder, turmeric powder, dry mango powder and red chili powder. Stir for a minute.
  5. Add pureed tomatoes and salt and cook covered for 15 min.
  6. Add cooked dal, onion and tomato mixture and mix very well. Simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in between.
  7. Garnish with cilantro. Serve kali dal hot with rice / roti.

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