Dal makhani recipe – One of the most popular lentil dishes originated from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan. Dhal or dal refers to lentils and makhan refers to butter. Dal makhani literally translates to lentils cooked with butter. Traditionally dal makhani was prepared by simmering lentils on coal fire for several hours. This slow cooking for prolonged hours yield a creamy, thick and best tasting buttery dal.
This Punjabi dal makhani recipe is a keeper and has never failed to amaze my guests. I am sure you will love how rich, creamy and delicious it tastes!
If you have a slow cooker, you can use it. Just need to adjust more water depending on how many hours you are going to slow cook it.
Punjabi dal makhani recipe
Dal makhani recipe
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
Ingredients for dal makhani
- ½ cup whole black lentil or sabut urad dal or black gram
- 2 to 3 tbsp rajma or red kidney beans (substitute with black gram)
- 2 to 2½ cups water for pressure cooking – more for pot
- 1 small bay leaf or tej patta (optional)
Tempering ingredients for dal makhani
- 2 to 3 tbsp unsalted butter or oil
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes fine chopped deseeded or ¾ cup tomato puree
- 1½ tsp ginger garlic paste or 2 tsps finely chopped or crushed well
- 1 green chilies slit optional or hari mirch
- Salt as needed
- 1 to 1 ½ cups water to add later (half cup each time while simmering)
- 3 to 4 tbsps cream
Whole spices (or substitute with ¼ tsp garam masala)
- ¼ to ½ tsp cumin or jeera
- 2 green cardamoms or elaichi (optional)
- ½ inch cinnamon piece or dalchini (optional)
- 2 cloves or laung (optional)
- 1 small black cardamom or badi elaichi (optional)
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder or haldi
- ½ to ¾ tsp red chilli powder or lal mirch powder
- ½ tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp coriander powder or daniya powder (optional)
- ¼ tsp kasuri methi or dry fenugreek leaves (optional)
- 1/8 tsp hing or asafoetida (optional)
- 1 tbsps butter or 1 tbsp cream
How to make the recipe
- Wash urad dal and rajma together several times and soak overnight or at least for 4 to 5 hours.
- Rinse both the lentils a few times.
- Then drain and add them to the cooker or pot. Also add bay leaf. Pour 2 to 2½ cups of water.
- Pressure cook for 8 to 10 whistles on a medium heat. You can also cook in a pot until soft and tender adding more water whenever needed.
- Both urad dal and rajma must cook to very soft. When mashed with a spoon the dal and rajma must be soft and get mashed well easily. If not then pour another half cup water and continue to cook for another 3 whistles on a medium heat.
How to make dal makhani
- Heat a heavy bottom pot / pan or handi with butter or oil.
- Add all whole spices – cumin, cardamoms, cloves & cinnamon. All spices are optional except cumin. Allow to crackle.
- Then add hing, ginger garlic and green chilli. Saute until aromatic.
- Next throw in the onions and fry until they turn golden.
- Then transfer tomato puree, turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala, coriander powder (optional) and salt.
- Saute well until the masala leaves the pan.
- Pour the cooked dal or lentils along with the stock.
Slow cooking dal makhani
- Stir and cook on a a low flame until the dal thickens. I cook for about 60 mins stirring often in between to prevent burning the bottom. Slow cooked dal tastes best.
- You will need to add half cup water when ever the dal thickens. It may need about 1 to 1½ cup water more as and when needed.
- You will be left with a thick creamy dal makhani. Sprinkle kasuri methi if using. Pour cream and stir. Turn off the stove & keep it covered.
- Garnish dal makhani with butter or cream, coriander leaves & ginger juliennes. Serve dal makhani with naan, basmati rice, roti or jeera rice.
Dhungar method or char coal smoking dal makhani (optional)
- Place a small piece of foil on the dal makhani. Hold 1 to 2 inch piece of natural wood charcoal with a tong and burn it on fire until red hot. Then place it on the foil kept over dal. Quickly pour half tsp ghee on the hot coal. Immediately cover the dal and allow to smoke for 1 to 2 mins.
To get the authentic taste you can cook the dal for as long as 4 to 6 hours on a low flame.
Keep stirring consistently to prevent burning.
Roughly adapted from: Taruna’s Easy food smith.
Preparation for dal makhani recipe
1. Wash sabut urad dal, rajma and chana dal thoroughly several times. I have not used chana dal and can be skipped if you do not favor it. Soak it for overnight or at least for 4 hours. I soaked it overnight.
Pour water and add 1 bay leaf to a pressure cooker. Cook for 8 to 10 whistles on a medium flame. You will have to add more water as needed if cooking in a pot. Do not cook on a high flame, slow cooked dal tastes the best. I cooked for about 35 to 40 mins in a pressure cooker on a medium flame.
2. Next when the pressure goes off, open the lid. Dal has to be soft cooked. When you mash the dal and rajma with a spoon they must get mashed well easily. The color of the cooked lentils may be different at this stage depending on the ingredients.
How to make dal makhani recipe
3. Heat a heavy bottom pot or pan with butter or oil. Make sure you use a heavy bottom utensil to prevent the dal sticking at the bottom during the slow cooking process. Add cumin and saute for a min or two. You can also add 2 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom, 2 cloves & half inch cinnamon.
4. Sprinkle hing and add ginger garlic paste. You can also use grated ginger garlic instead of fine chopped. Saute until they turn aromatic.
5. Transfer finely chopped onions.
6. Saute until the onions turn golden.
7. Add tomatoes, green chili, salt, turmeric and chili powder.
8. Saute until the tomatoes turn soft. If needed you can also cover and cook.
9. Add garam masala and coriander powder. Give a good stir and saute well until the masala leaves the pan.
Cooking dal makhani
10. Transfer the cooked dal along with the stock.
11. Stir well and begin to cook on a low flame stirring often.
12. You will need to add half cup water each time the dal thickens. Stir and continue to cook on the lowest possible heat. You can use about 1 to 2 cups water and simmer for 60 to 90 mins on a very low flame. Remember to keep stirring and add water whenever needed.
13. This was the consistency i got after 90 mins. Thick and creamy. If serving right away, you can add cream and turn off. It tastes good even without the addition of cream.
14. If having it the next day or later, you can refrigerate. Heat up when ever needed by adding little water. When it comes to a boil, add cream and stir well.
Dal Makhani can be served with butter topped and garnished with coriander and ginger Juliennes.
Dal makhani tastes best the next day. So you may refrigerate and have it the next day.
Serve dal makhani with plain rice, naan or roti. You can also garnish with cream and coriander leaves.