Learn how to make Creamy Punjabi Dal Makhani with Black Lentils(Sabut Urad), Red Kidney beans(Rajma)|Gluten-free recipe for Indian Dal Makhani
Dal Makhani, a North Indian delicacy that now internationally synonymous to Indian Cuisine, is creamy lentils cooked in onion-tomato gravy with cream and butter.
It is not a quick 15 minutes meal nor a low-calorie affair as the name suggests ‘Makhani means Butter’ and real flavor of dal comes by slow cooking it for a couple of hours. Some high-quality restaurants and dhabas cook it for around 24 hrs to get the authentic taste and flavor but since at home cooking time is limited this dal is cooked for 1-2 hrs on slow flame. Over the years I have kind of mastered the recipe of making Dal Makhani trust me I am not self-praising myself, but my family, friends love my Dal Makhani 🙂 and always ask me to make it for them !!
The onion and tomato masala that I make for Dal is very simple, I use very less onions and more of the tomatoes, ginger and garlic paste and just the garam masala but I simmer the dal for 1-2 hrs whenever I cook it for special occasions. My family loves this with Naan or Lachha Paratha and even with steamed rice.
Dal Makhani and it’s Variations
Dal Makhani is made mainly using Black Lentil(Sabut Urad) and Red Kidney Beans(Rajma), many people also add chana dal to more creaminess. I have had Dal Makhani at some of the best places in North especially Chandigarh side both in restaurants and roadside dhabas and each one’s version is as good as the other. What I noted that restaurants served Dal Makhani is made as a mix of Black Lentils and Kidney Beans and Dhabas make it with chana dal. I don’t add Chana Dal while making Dal Makhani but add it when I make a different version of Dal Makhani called Dhaba Dal.
Another variety of Dal Makhani is Dal Bukhara specialty of ITC Sheraton, that is made with only Black Lentils and simmered overnight in big pots. Many people call Dal Makhani as ‘Maa Di Dal’ also but Maa di dal is prepared in Punjab and Punjabi households using Split Black Lentil(Chilka Urad), Bengal Gram Lentil( Chana Dal) and Red Lentils(Dhuli Masoor) something that I observed when I lived in Chandigarh.. Related.. Maa Chane Di Dal
A simple version of Black lentils/Sabut Urad is made in western U.P side where these lentils are grown widely, without cream and butter. My grandfather was a farmer and this dal was grown in our fields, I remember mom and my dadi (grandmom) making this dal a lot when I was a kid.
Outside India, in US and other countries, all the lentils and powdered gram masala along with other spices that are used in Indian cooking are available at Indian Grocery stores, will be soon updating recipe for Homemade Garam Masala Powder.
Let’s see how I make this popular Dal Makhani!!
To Cook Dal:
Soak the black lentils(Sabut Urad) and red kidney beans(Rajma) overnight for at least 6hrs.
After the soaking time, wash it thoroughly by rubbing the lentils in running water. The color of lentils will turn from black to dark green.(Pics missing will soon update),
In a pressure cooker, take the lentils and beans, add water. Water added should be double the amount of dal, as this dal soaks a lot of water.
When water starts boiling, some foam will come gather at the top, discard it with ladle.
Add salt and the whole spices. Close the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook dal on low flame for 30 mins.
Prepare Masala for Dal:
Take finely chopped half onion , 4-5 garlic cloves and 1″ fresh ginger, 1-2 green chillies(as per the spice level you like).
Meanwhile, prepare the masala. Finely chop onions, coarsely crush ginger, garlic and green chilli in a pestle or make the paste.
In a pan, add a tsp of oil, when the oil is hot enough, add jeera(cumin seeds), let it splatter, add ginger-garlic-green chilli paste. When it starts turning light brown and gives the aroma add onions and fry till the onions are translucent. Switch off the flame.
Add tomato puree, add a 1/4 Tsp of sugar, to regulate the acidity of tomatoes. Cook masala for 5-10 minutes. Add a tbsp of cream to the masala and cook for another 2 minutes.
When the pressure in cooker subsides, check for the doneness of lentils and beans, these should be soft and mushy.
Add masala, mix well and lower the flame, add water to adjust the consistency of dal, dal should move freely when stirred with a ladle., you can add a tbsp of butter and cream again and simmer dal on low flame for 1-2 hrs. In case you don’t have this much of time to cook, just cook the dal uncovered till well blended or at least for 30 mins.
Dry roast 1/4 tsp of Dry Fenugreek leaves(Kasuri Methi), crush it finely and add to dal mix well.
Once the dal is done keep it covered till you serve it. Heat Dal before serving hot with Naans/Lachha Paratha/Rice or any flatbread of your choice. Add some more cream to more butter to it before serving, come on !!! this Dal Makhani!!
Add butter and cream as per your choice. You can avoid adding butter while making masala, use 2 Tbsp of oil. But add butter before serving. For me, cooking masala in butter adds on to the taste!!
In place of cream, add half cup of milk while dal is cooking. Keep on stirring the dal while adding milk. Many people add yogurt, though I never tried it, you can try adding 1-2 tbsp of it while making masala, after adding tomatoes.
This dal tastes even more better the next day. Whenever I make it for dinner for guests, I usually make it morning, give it a standing time of 4-5 hrs before serving.
Recipe Card for Dal Makhani
Rich Creamy Dal Makhani
For pressure cooking Dal Makhani
– Black Lentils/Sabut Urad- 200g/1 Cup
– Red Kidney Beans- 50g/1/4 cup
– Bay Leaves(Tej Patta)- 1
– Cinnamon Stick(Dalchini)- 1″
– Black Peppers- 4-5 nos.
– Cloves- 4-5nos.
– Black Cardamom- 1
– Salt as per Taste
For making Onion-Tomato Masala
– Onion- 1/2
– Tomatoes- 4
– Garlic- 4 cloves
– Ginger- 1/2″
– Green Chilli- 1-2(As per taste)
– Oil- 1 Tsp
– Garam Masala- 1-11/2 Tsp
– Red Chilli Powder- 1/2 Tsp
– Butter- 2-3 Tbsp
– Cream- 2-3 Tbsp
– Dried Fenugreek Leaves- 1/4 Tsp
1. Soak Black Lentils and Red Kidney beans overnight or at least for 5-6 hrs.
2. After the soaking time, wash it thoroughly by rubbing the lentils in running water.
3. In a pressure cooker, take the lentils and beans, add water. Water added should be double the amount of dal, as this dal soaks a lot of water.
4. Cook dal in pressure cook on low flame for 1/2 an hr(30 mins)
5. Finely chop onions, make the paste of ginger, garlic and green chilli.
6. In a pan, add a tsp of oil, when the oil is warm, add a tbsp of butter, when hot enough, add jeera(cumin seeds), let it splatter, add ginger-garlic-green chilli paste. When it starts turning light brown and gives the aroma add onions and fry till the onions are translucent.Switch off the flame.
7. Let the onions cool a bit, roughly chop tomatoes and grind together fried onions and tomatoes. Puree the tomatoes completely.
8. Add tomato puree mix with onions and add a 1/4 Tsp of sugar, to regulate the acidity of tomatoes.
9. Cook the masala for 5-10 minutes. Add a tbsp of cream to the masala and cook for another 2 minutes.
10. When the pressure in cooker subsides, check for the doneness of lentils and beans, these should be soft and mushy. Add masala, mix well and lower the flame, add water to adjust the consistency of dal, dal should move freely when stirred with a ladle.
11. Add a tbsp of butter and cream again and simmer dal on low flame for 1-2 hrs. In case you don’t have this much of time to cook, just cook the dal uncovered till well blended.
12. Dry roast 1/4 tsp of Dry Fenugreek leaves(Kasuri Methi), crush it finely and add to the dal mix well.
13. Once the dal is done serve hot with Naans/Kulchas/Rice or any flatbread of your choice.
14. Add some more cream to more butter to it before serving, come on this Dal Makhani!!
I made some whole wheat naans, on gas-stove with Dal Makhani. These naan breads don’t need an oven or tandoor and made without using yeast or eggs. My kids love naans /kulchas with dal makhani or paneer dishes. Click here for the recipe of Whole Wheat Tawa Naan.
Make this restaurant-style Dal Makhani with homemade naans and kulchas with some onion rings in lemon dressing, and I am sure you and your family will surely like it.
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