Indian Dal Makhani / Kaali Dal

Dal Makhani
Most days I cook a vegetarian meal for us. Beans or lentils are definitely a part of it. Today, I made a North Indian style Dal with phulka for our lunch. The most popular Indian dal recipe, known as Dal Makhani or Maa ki Dal.

Urad Dal/Split Black Gram - 1/2 cup
Rajma/Red Kidney Beans - 1/4 cup
Onion - 1 medium
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Green Chilies - 2
Garlic - 3 big cloves
Ginger (grated) - 1 tsp
Cumin/Jeera Seeds - 1 tsp
Coriander/Dhania Powder - 1 tsp
Cumin/Jeera Powder - 1/2 tsp
Kasuri Methi/Dry Fenugreek Leaves - 1 tbsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Red Chili Powder - 1/4 tsp
Unsalted Butter - 2 tbsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Milk Cream - 1/4 cup

How to cook Indian Daal Makhani:
  • Soak urad dal and rajma in plenty of water for 8 - 10 hours or overnight. Wash the soaked dal and rajma well, about 4 - 5 times in running water.
  • Pressure cook washed dal and rajma with 2 - 3 cups of water until soft and mushy. Alternately, you can cook dal and rajma in a pot with plenty of water as well. Slightly mash the cooked lentils.
Dal Makhani
  • I don't add salt while cooking beans like rajma, cause sometimes beans are not cooked well. You can add salt if you like.
  • While the lentils are getting cooked, finely chop onions and garlic. Medium chop tomatoes and slit the green chilies lengthwise.
Daal Makhani
  • Heat oil and butter in a pan or kadhai. Add cumin seeds and after few seconds, add onions. Saute until onions soften. Next, add green chilies, ginger and garlic. Saute until onions turn slightly brown.
  • Next, add tomatoes and saute for a minute. Now, add all the spices - coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, chili powder and crushed kasuri methi. Continue cooking until the moisture of tomatoes is evaporated.
  • Both urad dal and rajma are heavy to digest. Coriander, cumin and especially garlic help in digesting this heavy protein.
Dhal Makhani
  • Lastly, add cooked dal and rajma, salt and about 2 cups water. Bring it to a boil and cook it covered at low heat for 5 - 10 minutes. Cooking at low heat adds more flavor to the dal. If you are in a hurry, high heat is fine too. Continue cooking until you get the desired consistency.
  • Now for the creamy texture, add cream and cook it covered for another 2 - 3 minutes and your Dhal Makhani is ready. 
  • Instead of cream, I add 1/2 cup whole milk sometimes, which tastes good too. But the dal takes a couple more minutes to thicken.
  • Drizzle some more cream or some butter while serving. I like my Daal Makhani with lemon juice and raw red onions. Lentils and beans are rich in iron, but iron is only absorbed when mixed with lemon juice.
Serve creamy Dal Makhani with naan, roti, jeera rice or with phulkas, like I do.


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