Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Dal Makhani

"Dal Makhani" is a very popular Punjabi dal.....its a mixed dal preparation made with Whole Black Gram (urad dal)  Red Kidney Beans (rajma) and Fresh Cream. This is a thick dal and has a very rich and creamy texture .

Traditionally its a slow cooked dal simmered overnight on low flame along with aromatic Indian spices and is loaded with cream and butter. However I have prepared it in a pressure cooker as its faster and can be prepared in a jiffy. I have reduced the quantity of cream and replaced it with milk making it more healthy without compromising with the taste.

Dal makhani is goes well with rice, roti, naan or any Indian flat bread and is a foodies delight. Never worry about any leftover dal as the best thing about this dal is that it tastes even better the next day. Do reheat properly and enjoy.


Whole black gram (urad dal) - 1 cup
Red kidney beans (rajma) - 1/4cup
Ginger - 1 1/2 inch piece
Garlic (fat ones) - 3-4 cloves
Onion, chopped - 2 medium
Tomato, chopped - 2 medium
Tomato puree - 1 tablespoon
Green chillies - 2 slit lengthwise.
Green cardamoms - 2 pods
Cloves - 5-6
Cinnamon - 2 inch stick
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Kashmiri red chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 tablespoon
Fresh cream - 2 tablespoon
Whole milk - 1/4cup
Oil -2 tablespoon
Salt to taste

For garnish

Fresh green coriander, chopped - 2 tablespoon
Ginger juliennes - 1 tablespoon
Butter  - 1 tablespoon


Clean, wash and soak the urad dal and rajma overnight.

Wash the pieces of ginger and garlic (leave the skin on). Take a square muslin cloth (approximately 6"X6"), place the ginger garlic pieces on this and tie to make a potli.
Drain the dal and rajma wash again in fresh water, add 3 cups of water, salt and the ginger garlic potli and washed dal in a pressure cooker and cook until 6-7 whistles or till the dals are overcooked.

Allow the steam to escape before opening the lid of the pressure cooker. Remove the potli from the cooked dal and keep aside. Whisk till the Dal is almost mashed, keep aside and let it cool down. Once cool add the fresh cream and milk and mix well. (Please ensure that the dal is completely cool before you mix the cream and milk or else the milk and cream will cuddle and form granules) 

Open the ginger garlic potli and and remove the ginger and garlic pieces (although most of the garlic would have cooked and seeped through the muslin into the dal). However squeeze out any remaining pulp from the garlic and discard the skin, grind the ginger and garlic pulp into a smooth paste and keep aside for later use.

Heat oil in kadhai, add green cardamom, cloves and cinnamon stick and fry till the aroma of the spices are released, add the chopped onions and slit green chilli and fry for 3-4 minutes or until onion changes colour to almost golden brown (Remove the green chillies at this stage and keep aside To be added later as during the process of preparing the masala the chilli will loose its shape and also add extra heat to the dal).  Add the ginger garlic paste along with chilli powder (red chilli powder and the Kashmiri chilli powder) and coriander powder fry for 3-4 minutes.

Add tomato puree along with chopped tomatoes and fry till the oil starts leaving the sides.

Once the masala is ready, turn off the flame and add it to the dal and mix well, check and adjust the salt according to taste. Once the dal and masala have blended well place the dal on medium flame and bring it to a boil .

Once the dal comes to a boil reduce heat and let it simmer on low heat for 25- 30 minutes. Garnish with chopped green coriander and ginger juliennes and add the pre cooked green chilli.

Serve hot with a blob of butter or fresh cream along with rice, roti or lachha paratha  . 


A lot of recipies for dal makhani use Chana dal (Bengal gram dal) but I have not used it in my recipe as this is how it is prepared in our home.
I have used the ginger garlic potli while cooking the dal as the flavors of the ginger garlic can blend well along with the dal.
You might wonder that won't the cream and milk cuddle once we boil the dal after mixing the masala but don't worry as we are adding the masala to the dal which has already been cooled, and we will mix the masala well and then heat the dal, hence there is no chance of the milk to cuddle.