Dal Makhani

    Dal Makhani Recipe

    Let’s talk about lentils today. Growing up in India, lentils were an integral part of my diet, in fact don’t be surprised if I tell you this – I had a bowl of dal [lentil soup] everyday for my lunch, everyday without fail! They are a staple in every Indian household and there are so many types of lentils that we never get bored of them. The most common dal that mom used to make every day [and still makes] was arhar/toor dal [split pigeon pea lentil]. Then there was black lentil, red lentil and the list goes on. While these yellow dals were made often [and I confess we kids used to get bored of them after a while], other lentils were made on special occasions and one such dal was Dal Makhani.

    Dal is a common term used for all lentils in Hindi and Makhani means “buttery”, so this recipe is full of butter and cream.Don’t make this if you are watching your diet or want to lose weight! Dal Makhani is everyone’s favorite dal and it it made with whole gram/black lentil or what we call “urad sabut”. We also know it as “Maa Ki Dal” in Northern parts of India.

    Indian Dal Makhani

    This dal is always on the menu in every Indian restaurant and more often than not there are always some red kidney beans [rajma] added to it. However this recipe doesn’t have kidney beans in it and the reason is that my husband likes it this way and this is actually his recipe! Yes he made his dal from beginning to end, I only clicked pictures and so I am super excited to share this recipe. Trust me, it’s finger licking good!

    For better flavors for any Indian curry/lentils, you should try to cook on slow flame for a longer period of time. In fact this dal is sometimes simmered for 6 hours or overnight. Slow cooking enhances all the flavors and makes the dal super delicious. Basically you boil the lentils till they are soft and then you proceed to make the seasoning and all this while the lentils will keep simmering on medium-low flame. For this recipe, the dal was simmered for around 1.5 hours. You can do more if time permits, just make sure to add more water then because dal does get thicker over time.

    There are loads of step but don’t get intimidated by them, I have tried to explain every step in detail So let’s start!

     

    Method

    Soak urad dal in enough water overnight. The lentils increase in size when soaked and will look like this [see 1st picture]

    Rinse and drain the soaked dal and transfer to a pressure cooker. Add around 5 cups of water, 1 chopped green chili [or more if you like spicy food], 1 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder.

    Cover and cook on high heat for 1 whistle. Lower the flame to medium and let it cook for another 15-20 minutes. The lentils will be nicely cooked by now. Every Indian owns a pressure cooker and that is what we use to cook lentils, beans, rice and just about anything. But you can cook these lentils in a big pan too. Bring water to boil, add the lentils and set the heat to medium. Cook till lentils are soft and done, this might take 45 minutes or more. Pressure cooker just makes things super quick and easy.

    Dal Makhani Recipe-Step-1

    Once the pressure comes off, open the lid of the pressure cooker and switch on the heat again. Set the heat to medium-low. Take a masher and mash the lentils a little. Now the dal will keep simmering while you do the other steps.

    On another stove top, heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add ginger garlic paste and saute for 1 minute.

    Add the chopped onions and cook till raw smell goes away, around 2 minutes.

    Dal Makhani Recipe-Step-2

    Once onions are done, add the chopped tomatoes. Cook for 6-7 minutes till the raw smell goes away completely.

    Add the dry spices – turmeric powder, garam masala, kashmiri red chili powder and salt.

    Cook the spices for 1-2 minutes and switch off the flame.Dal Makhani Recipe-Step-3

    Transfer the onion-tomato mixture to a blender, add around 2 tablespoons of water and let it cool down a little.

    Meanwhile, mash the dal once again [which should have been simmering all the while].

    Now blend the mixture to a fine paste. Dal Makhani Recipe-Step-4

    Transfer the onion-tomato paste to the simmering dal along with 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.

    Now add 1/4 cup of cream and mix.

    The dal will be thicker by now, keep simmering it on medium-low heat.

    Dal Makhani Recipe-Step-5

    Take a small pan and heat 1 tablespoon of ghee in it.

    Once the ghee melts and is hot add the chopped garlic and  whole dried red chilies.

    Saute on medium heat till the garlic starts turning light golden brown.

    Dal Makhani Recipe-Step-6

    As the garlic/chilies starts turning brown, add 1 cup of simmering dal into this small pan and mix.

    Now transfer the garlic/chili seasoning in the small pan to the simmering dal.

    Add lemon juice, chopped cilantro and keep simmering for additional 15 minutes. Overall the dal should simmer for around 1-2 hour on low heat [I did for 1.5 hours].

    Dal Makhani Recipe-Step-7Serve the dal hot with naan or rice.

    Dal Makhani Recipe

    * Dal Makhani is supposed to be on the thicker side. So do not add too much water to make it like a soup. It’s not your regular lentil soup. It’s rich, thick, creamy and supposed to be eaten with naan and rice.

    * If you want to add rajma [red kidney beans] to this recipe, go ahead and soak the rajma along with the urad dal overnight and then pressure cook them in the way as you do with the lentils.

    * Adjust spice levels to taste. Add 3-4 green chilies to up the spice level.

    * Dal Makhani is supposed to be buttery and creamy but if you want to cut down on the calories, skip the cream and add milk in place. You can also cut down on the amount of ghee and butter in the recipe.

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    Dal Makhani

    India's favorite Dal Makhani! Creamy Buttery Black Lentils cooked in a spicy Onion-Tomato curry.
    Servings: 5
    Calories: 257 kcal
    Author: Manali
    5 from 2 votes
    Print

    Ingredients

    To boil the dal

    • 1 cup whole black lentils, urad sabut
    • 5 cups water
    • 1 green chili, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • teaspoon turmeric powder

    Onion-Tomato masala

    • 1 onion, small, roughly chopped
    • 2-3 to matoes, medium, roughly chopped
    • 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
    • ½ teaspoon garam masala
    • ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 3 teaspoons oil

    To be added after blending the masala

    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    • ¼ cup heavy cream

    Final seasoning

    Garnish

    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
    • coriander leaves, finely chopped

    Instructions

    Boil the dal

    1. Soak urad dal in enough water overnight. The lentils increase in size when soaked.
    2. Rinse and drain the soaked dal and transfer to a pressure cooker.
    3. Add around 5 cups of water, 1 chopped green chili [or more if you like spicy food], 1 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder.
    4. Cover and cook on high for 1 whistle. Lower the flame to medium and let it cook for another 15-20 minutes. Switch off the flame and wait till pressure comes off and then open the lid. [If you don't have a pressure cooker, cook the lentils in a big pot full of water, till they are soft and done]
    5. Transfer the boiled dal to another stove with heat on medium.

    Make the Onion-Tomato paste

    1. On another stove top, heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add ginger garlic paste and saute for 1 minute.
    2. Add the chopped onions and cook till raw smell goes away, around 2 minutes.
    3. Once onions are done, add the chopped tomatoes. Cook for 6-7 minutes till the raw smell goes away completely.
    4. Add the dry spices - turmeric powder, garam masala, kashmiri red chili powder and salt
    5. Cook the spices for 1-2 minutes and switch off the flame.

    Add the masala and other seasoning to the dal

    1. Transfer the onion-tomato mixture to a blender, add around 2 tablespoons of water and let it cool down a little.
    2. Meanwhile, mash the dal once again [which should have been simmering all the while].
    3. Now blend the mixture to a fine paste.
    4. Transfer the onion-tomato paste to the simmering dal along with 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.
    5. Now add 1/4 cup of cream and mix.
    6. The dal will be thicker by now, keep simmering it on medium-low heat.

    Final tadka/seasoning

    1. Take a small pan and heat 1 tablespoon of ghee in it.
    2. Once the ghee melts and is hot add the chopped garlic and whole dried red chilies.
    3. Saute on medium heat till the garlic starts turning light golden brown.
    4. As the garlic/chilies starts turning brown, add 1 cup of simmering dal into this small pan and mix.
    5. Now transfer the garlic/chili seasoning in the small pan to the entire pot of simmering dal.
    6. Add lemon juice, chopped cilantro and keep simmering for additional 15 minutes. Overall the dal should simmer for around 1-2 hour on low heat [I did for 1.5 hours].
    7. Serve the dal hot with naan or rice.
    Nutrition Facts
    Dal Makhani
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 257 Calories from Fat 108
    % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 12g 18%
    Saturated Fat 6g 30%
    Cholesterol 30mg 10%
    Sodium 987mg 41%
    Potassium 127mg 4%
    Total Carbohydrates 26g 9%
    Dietary Fiber 9g 36%
    Sugars 2g
    Protein 10g 20%
    Vitamin A 11.2%
    Vitamin C 54.2%
    Calcium 5%
    Iron 18.6%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

     

     

    18 thoughts on “Dal Makhani

    1. This lentil soup looks delicious! Love lentils! You are completly right, the pressure cooker is a blessing when trying to cook lentil, chickpeas or beans. I will try it! I don’t have ghee so I will try with regular butter.

      1. Thanks Azu..yeah I cannot survive without a pressure cooker!! Btw this lentil recipe is not soup kinds..it’s creamy and thick and eaten as a main course with naan and rice.. hope you give it a try! 🙂

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