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.
It is served with plain rice, roti or naan. It is a rich dish which is not made often due to the long duration of cooking. I had few request in the past year from readers for a good dal makhani recipe. I tried a lot of recipes from various sources and finally loved this punjabi dal makhani recipe from Taruna’s blog. I have also refered Chef Sanjeev kapoor and Chef Harpal singh’s recipes for tips.
Punjabi dal makhani recipe card below
- ½ cup whole black lentil / sabut urad dal
- ¼ cup rajma / red kidney beans (can reduce to 3 tbsps)
- 2.5 cups water for pressure cooking
- 1 small black cardamom/ badi elaichi
- 1 small bay leaf/ tej patta
- ¼ to ½ tsp turmeric powder/ haldi
- Salt as needed
- 2 tbsp oil or butter
- ¼ to ½ tsp cumin / jeera
- ⅛ tsp hing / asafoetida
- 1 medium fine chopped onion
- 2 medium fine chopped tomato deseeded
- ¾ tsp ginger finely chopped or grated / adrak
- ¾ tsp finely chopped or 3 to 4 garlic cloves / lehsun
- 1 green chilies slit optional / hari mirch
- ½ tsp red chilli powder
- ½ tsp garam masala
- 1 ½ tsp coriander powder / daniya powder
- 1 ½ to 2 cups water to add later (half cup each time while simmering)
- 2 tbsps cream
- 1 tbsp coriander leaves / daniya patta
- 1 tbsps butter or 1 tbsp cream
- Wash dal and rajma together several times and soak overnight or at least for 4 to 5 hours.
- Pressure cook with 2.5 cups of water, cardamom and bay leaf for 4 to 5 whistles on a medium heat or for 25 to 30 minutes if cooking in a pot.
- Heat a pan with butter or oil. Add cumin and allow to crackle. Add hing and ginger garlic and saute until aromatic.
- Add onions and fry until they turn golden. Add tomatoes, green chilli, turmeric, chilli powder and salt. Saute until the tomatoes turn mushy.
- Add garam masala, coriander powder. Saute well again for 1 to 2 mins.
- Pour the cooked lentils along with the stock.
- Stir and cook for about 2 hours stirring often in between to prevent burning the bottom. You will need to add half cup water when ever the dal thickens. You may need to add about 1.5 to 2 cups water more as and when needed.
- You will be left with thick creamy dal. Add cream and stir. Cook for another 5 to 7 mins.
- Add chopped coriander and ginger juliennes for garnish. You can also garnish with butter or cream.
- Serve dal makhani with naan, plain rice, roti or jeera rice.
How to make 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. Add 2.5 cups water, 1 bay leaf, 1 black cardamom and half of the chilli powder to a pressure cooker and cook for 4 to 5 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 25 to 30 mins in a pressure cooker on a medium flame.
2. When the pressure goes off, dal is soft cooked. The color of the cooked lentils may be different at this stage depending on the ingredients.
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.
4. Add hing and ginger garlic. You can also use grated ginger garlic instead of fine chopped. Saute until they turn aromatic.
5. Add 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.
10. Add the cooked lentils 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. Totally I used about 2 cups water and simmered for 2 hours on a very low flame. Remember to keep stirring and add water whenever needed.
13. After 2 hours, this was the consistency i got. Thick and creamy. If serving right away, you can add cream and simmer for 5 to 7 mins. It tastes good even without the addition of cream.
Dal Makhani can be served with butter topped and garnished with coriander and ginger Juliennes.
It is said that dal makhani tastes best the next day. So you may refrigerate and have it the next day.
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. Cook for another 5 to 7 mins or until it thickens.
Serve dal makhani with plain rice, naan or roti. You can also garnish with cream and coriander leaves.