Dal Makhani, rich and creamy popular North Indian Dal with Black lentils. Now make Restaurant style Dal Makhani at home
Dal Makhani, one of the most popular Indian dish which is not only popular in India but also Internationally.
The post covers how to cook dal in traditonal Indian pressure cooker. Also, including steps to cook it in Instant Pot.
- About Dal Makhani
- Ingredients for Dal Makhani
- Dal Makhani and it's Variations
- How to make Restaurant Style Dal Makhani
- Tips and Suggestions for Best Dal Makhani
- Serving Suggestions
- How long Dal Makhani stays good
- Can I make Dal Makhani in Instant Pot
- Recipe Card
- Restaurant Style Dal Makhani
About Dal Makhani
Dal Makhani, a North Indian delicacy that now internationally synonymous to Indian Cuisine (for vegetarians and vegans), is black lentils cooked in onion-tomato gravy with cream and butter. It is creamy and rich, buttery and so good!!
It is Gluten-free, protein rich and can be made Vegan friendly.
Dal Makhani, is not a quick 15 minutes meal nor a low-calorie affair as the name suggests 'Makhani means Butter'. And the 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. Since at home cooking time is limited this dal is cooked for 1-2 hrs on slow flame you can still make the best restaurant style Dal Makhani at home.
My family, friends love my Dal Makhani 🙂 and always ask me to make it for them!! So trust the recipe, go ahead and make it!!
Ingredients for Dal Makhani
Lentils- A combination of lentils/dal is used to make Dal Makhani. Black Lentils (Sabut Urad Dal), Red Kidney Beans (Rajma), Split Bengal Gram(Chana Dal) are the main lentils to make this dal. You can skip chana dal or even rajma, but black lentils is the main ingredient.
Whole Spices used while cooking dal- We don't use too many spice powders to cook this dal but we add whole spices, which give lot of flavour. Bay leaf, Cinnamon stick, Black pepper, Cloves, Green cardamom, Black cardamom. These are added when we are cooking dal in pressure cooker. Many people add these spices while making onion tomato masala for dal, but I like to add while boiling dal.
For Dal Makhani Masala
Onion, Tomato, Ginger Garlic, Green Chillies(optional)
Spices- Garam Masala, Red Chilli Powder, Kasuri Methi/Dry Fenugreek Leaves are the main spices used in this dal.
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.
Dal Makhani and it's Variations
Dal Makhani is mainly made using Black Lentil(Sabut Urad) and Red Kidney Beans(Rajma). Many people also add chana dal to more creaminess. I have tasted Dal Makhani at some of the best places in North especially in (Punjab) Chandigarh side both in restaurants and roadside dhabas and each one's version is as good as the other. What I noted that Dal Makhani served at restaurants and fine dines is made with a mix of Black Lentils and Kidney Beans or without kidney beans. And Dhabas add chana dal.
I don't add Chana Dal while making it but add it when I make a different version, Dhaba Style Dal.
Another variation is Dal Bukhara specialty of ITC Sheraton, made with only Black Lentils and simmered overnight in big pots.
How to make Restaurant Style Dal Makhani
- First of all we soak dal and rajma for about 4-5 hrs. Soaking helps to shorten the cooking time.
- When ready to make, drain water in which the dal was soaked and 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),
- 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 whole spices. Close the lid of the pressure cooker. After one whistle lower the flame and cook dal for 20-30 mins.
- After that switch off the flame and wait for the pressure to come down naturally.
- Mash dal lightly with spoon to check, it should be soft.
Prepare Masala for Dal
- Finely chop onion, coarsely crush ginger, garlic and green chilli in a pestle or make the paste.
- Chop the tomatoes.
- Now in a pan, heat butter/oil add cumin seeds, when seeds crackle, add ginger garlic paste. Sauté till the raw smell of garlic goes away.
- Now add chopped onions and sauté till it turns translucent.
- Cool the sautéed onions and then transfer to a grinder jar. Add chopped tomatoes and grind to fine puree.
- Now add 1-2 tsp butter in the same pan, melt it and add tomato puree.
- Also, add 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.
Pls Note: For Restaurant Style taste, add 1 tbsp store bought tomato puree/tomato sauce.
Add masala to dal and cook
- Add masala to boiled dal and mix well. Lower the flame, add water to adjust the consistency of dal, it should move freely when stirred with a ladle.
- You can add 1-2 tsp of butter(as required) and cream again, simmer dal on low flame for about 30-45 mins. Keep on stirring. I keep it a little longer around 1 hr, when I make for guests.
- In case you don't have this much of time to cook, just cook the dal uncovered till well blended.
- Dry roast 1/4 tsp of Dry Fenugreek leaves(Kasuri Methi), crush it and add to dal, mix well.
- When 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.
Tips and Suggestions for Best Dal Makhani
Soak dal and rajma for 4-5 hrs or at least 30 mins.
Wash dal very nicely before boiling it.
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.
In place of cream, add half cup of milk while dal is cooking. Keep on stirring the dal while adding milk else milk may curdle. 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 in morning, give it a standing time of 4-5 hrs before serving.
How long Dal Makhani stays good
You can refrigerate leftover dal in an air tight container, stays good for 2-3 days.
To reheat, add a tsp of butter in a pan, then add dal and heat as required. You can add a pinch of Kashmiri lal mirch/paprika and some crushed fenugreek leaves in butter. Adds a fresh smoky flavour to dal.
Can I make Dal Makhani in Instant Pot
Yes you can make Dal makhani in Instant Pot or any electric pressure cooker. The process is slightly different. We make masala in IP only and then add soaked lentils and pressure cook.
Will cover detail recipes in a seperate post.
You can freeze dal makhani in freezer friendly container. Use small containers as per the portions required for one time. Stays good for a month. Thaw it before reheating on gas stove in a pan or in microwave (at high) for about 1-2 mins.
Skip butter and use olive oil to make Vegan Dal Makhani, though the real flavour of this dal comes with butter. Add vegan/plant based cream (cashew cream) in place of dairy cream.
To make No Onion No Garlic Dal Makhani, skip onions and garlic from the recipe. Puree tomatoes with green chilli and ginger. After adding cumin seeds add tomato puree directly. You can also add 1 tbsp of store bought tomato puree/sauce (not tomato ketchup), and then proceed with rest of the recipe.
Restaurant Style Dal Makhani
- Pressure cooker to cook dal
- Pan to make onion tomato masala
- Mixer Grinder
- Mortar Pestle
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- 1 Cup Black Lentils/Sabut Urad
- ¼ Cup Red Kidney Beans/Rajma
- 1-2 Bay Leaves(Tej Patta)
- small Cinnamon Stick(Dalchini)
- 4-5 Black Peppers
- 4-5 Cloves
- 1-2 Green Cardamom
- 1 Black Cardamom
- Salt as per taste
- ½ Onion or 1 small
- 4 Tomatoes
- 3-4 Garlic
- ½" Ginger
- 1-2 Green Chilli optional
- 1 tsp Oil
- 2-3 tbsp Butter
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 tsp Garam Masala
- ½-1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- 2-3 tbsp Cream
- 1 tsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves/Kasuri Methi
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil when not using butter
- 1 tbsp Tomato Sauce/Puree Store bought
- Wash nicely and soak Black Lentils and Red Kidney beans overnight or at least for 5-6 hrs.1 Cup Black Lentils/Sabut Urad, ¼ Cup Red Kidney Beans/Rajma
- After the soaking time, wash it thoroughly by rubbing the lentils in running water.
- In a pressure cooker, take the lentils and beans, salt and whole spices, add water. Water added should be double the amount of dal, as this dal soaks a lot of water.1-2 Bay Leaves(Tej Patta), small Cinnamon Stick(Dalchini), 4-5 Black Peppers, 4-5 Cloves, 1-2 Green Cardamom, 1 Black Cardamom, Salt
- Cook dal in pressure cook on low flame for 30 mins.
- When the pressure in cooker subsides, check for the doneness of lentils and beans, these should be soft and mushy.
Prepare Masala for Dal Makhani
- Finely chop onions, make the paste of ginger, garlic and green chilli, chop tomatoes.3-4 Garlic, ½" Ginger, 1-2 Green Chilli, ½ Onion
- In a pan, add a tsp of oil. When it is warm, add a tbsp of butter, when hot enough, add jeera(cumin seeds), let it splatter, add ginger-garlic-green chilli paste. Those who want to avoid butter, add oil.1 tsp Oil, 2-3 tbsp Butter, 1 tsp Cumin Seeds, 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- When it starts turning light brown and gives the aroma add onions and fry till the onions are translucent. Switch off the flame.
- Let the onions cool a bit, roughly chop tomatoes and grind tomatoes and fried onions to fine puree.4 Tomatoes
- Add tomato puree in the same pan, and add a ¼ tsp sugar, to regulate the acidity of tomatoes.
- For restaurant style dal makhani, add 1 tbsp of store bought tomato sauce/puree. Do not add tomato ketchup. This is optional, but adds a flavour to dal.1 tbsp Tomato Sauce/Puree
- Cook the masala for 5-10 minutes then add garam masala and red chilli powder.1 tsp Garam Masala, ½-1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- Add a tbsp of cream to the masala and cook for another 2 minutes.2-3 tbsp Cream
- Add onion tomato masala to boiled dal, mix well and lower the flame. Add water to adjust the consistency of dal. It should move freely when stirred with a ladle.
- Add a tbsp of butter and cream again and simmer dal on low flame for at least 30 mins- 45 mins. Keep on stirring dal so that it doesn't burn at the bottom.
- Dry roast 1/4 tsp of Dry Fenugreek leaves(Kasuri Methi), crush it finely and add to the dal mix well.1 tsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves/Kasuri Methi
- When the dal is done, serve hot with Naans/Kulcha/Rice or any flatbread of your choice.
- Add some more cream to more butter to it before serving.
Boil Dal in Instant Pot
- Set the Sauté Mode on for 10 mins.
- Add 1 tsp oil and 1 tbsp butter in inner pot.
- When display shows HOT, add cumin seeds and other whole spices. Sauté for a few seconds or until cumin seeds crackle.
- Add chopped onions and ginger garlic paste. Sauté till onions start turning translucent/ light brown.
- Now add fresh tomato puree + tomato sauce. Cook for a few more seconds.
- Then add garam masala and red chilli powder, mix well.
- Add soaked dal, and salt. Add double the amount of water.
- Close and seal the lid.
- Set the pressure Cook Mode ON , set time for 30 mins.
- When it is done, water for Natural Pressure Release.
- Check dal and lightly roast dried fenugreek leaves and crush lightly and add to dal.
- You can cook on SAUTE MODE on LOW, for few more minutes. Remember to stir dal, so that it doesn't burn at the bottom.
- Serve it with more butter and swirl of cream with naan/any bread or rice.
Make this restaurant-style Dal Makhani with homemade naans and serve with onion rings(Onion Lachha) in lemon dressing, and I am sure you and your family will love it.
Also, whenever you try the recipe, I will love to hear/share your feedback or any queries in the comment section below. I will try to answer your queries as soon as possible.
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