101. dal makhani

June 22, 2012mayurisjikoni
Blog post

creamy and buttery

   Anyone who has been to an Indian restaurant or dhaba, has heard of or tasted dal makhani. Its a famous Punjabi dal, usually served along with naan, parathas, vegetables and rice. The original dal makhani is cooked over a low heat charcoal furnace or in the naan furnace overnight. Very slow cooking makes the dal tasty. The following day all the spices, homemade butter and cream are added to make it thick, creamy and buttery. In this fast world, I seriously do not have the patience of cooking it over low flame overnight. I think, fire hazard, not fuel efficient, what if it burns etc etc. My version of the recipe is not loaded with fat and is easily made in our normal kitchens which may not have a furnace or jiko.

updated 11/01/2016







6 servings

1 cup whole black grams (urad)  
¼ cup red beans
5 cups water
½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
2 tsps cumin seeds
2 tbsps clarified butter(ghee) or oil
1½ cups finely chopped onions
2 tbsps garlic paste
2 tsps ginger paste or finely chopped ginger
1 tsp green chilli paste or 1-2 chillis chopped
10 to 12 peppercorns
1 one inch cinnamon stick
4 – 6 cloves
1½ tsp salt
2 tsps coriander cumin powder (dhana jiru)
½ tsp garam masala
½ to 1 tsp red chilli powder
½ cup tomato puree
pinch of asafoetida
2 tbsps chopped fresh coriander
½ –1 cup fresh cream, optional
a huge dollop of butter for serving, optional

  1. Soak the lentils and beans overnight in warm water or  for 6 to 8 hours.
  2. Drain out the water. Wash the lentils and beans and put them in a pressure cooker with 2 cups of water, 1 tsp cumin seeds and ¼ tsp turmeric powder. Pressure cook over medium heat for 4 to 6 whistles.
  3. In the meantime prepare the gravy. Heat ghee or oil in a pan. When it is hot add the peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves and remaining cumin seeds. When they begin to sizzle, add asafoetida.
  4. Add chopped onions and stir fry them till it starts turning light pink in colour.
  5. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli paste. Stir fry till the garlic becomes light pink in colour.
  6. Add dhana jiru, red chilli powder, garam masala and tomato puree. 
  7. Cook till the gravy becomes thick.
  8. Mash the cooked lentils lightly. Add the tomato gravy, remaining water and salt to it.
  9. Mix well and let it simmer over low heat for nearly 30 minutes.
  10. Stir occasionally so that the dal does not stick at the bottom.
  11. Add  fresh cream. Mix well.
  12. Garnish with coriander and a blob of butter and serve.
Tips :
  • Most of the dals I prepare are thick. If you want a thinner dal, just add more water.
  • Instead of fresh cream, add milk.
  • Can do additional tadka (tempering) to pour on top before serving. For this heat a tbsp of ghee, add 1 tsp cumin seeds and 1 tsp red chilli powder (kashmiri as its not hot) and pour over the dal. If you do not have kashmiri chilli powder use normal red chilli powder but do not add in the dal while cooking.
  • If you like you can add clove and cinnamon powder while cooking the dal. I prefer the spicy taste of the onions, garlic and ginger.
  • For recipe of dhana jiru refer to my recipe, Nunu’s biryani.
  • For fresh tomato puree, wash 1kg of tomatoes. Half them and put them in a saucepan. Add ¼ cup water. Cover the pan. Cook over low heat for 20 minutes. Let the tomatoes cool down. Liquidize and store in the fridge. Usually keeps good for a whole week in the fridge.
You may want to check out the following :
spinach masoor dal



  • Nayna Kanabar

    January 12, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    This looks delicious nad perfect comfort food. I love it with a bowl of steaming boiled rice.

  • Heidi Roberts

    January 12, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    This looks like it will be really tasty and perhaps a bit fiery!

  • Beulah – FullScoops

    January 20, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    So right, no one has the patience to slow cook now a days! It's all instant! This dal makhani looks so delicious! So flavorful and yum!
    Why am I not able to follow your? I have tried so many times to become a member and join your site but I'm not able to. Do let me know, I would love to stay in touch!

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