Dal makhani step-by-step recipe with video and photos.
About this recipe
If I think of Punjabi food, this is one of the first things that comes to mind. Silky velvety dal makhani... Makhan means butter – this dish is essentially lentils cooked in butter and spices. Made with whole black gram, red kidney beans, and butter - accompanied by soft and crispy naan. This is the most popular dal in Indian restaurants outside India.
This dish has a low glycemic index and all the good fat from butter. The main ingredient used here is black gram which has several health benefits, including improving digestion, bone health, and boosting energy. Urad dal is also rich in folates and phosphorus.
Also known as Maa ki dal, this dish is slow-cooked which allows the lentils to soak up all the flavours from the aromatic spices. It is important to soak the black gram and rinse it off before boiling. Using a pressure cooker to boil the dal is a great way to get the right texture and save a lot of time.
Urad dal: This dal is made with whole urad dal or black gram.
Rajma: A small amount of rajma or kidney beans goes into making this dal.
Butter: Don't shy away from using butter in this dish.
Onion and tomatoes: They form the base of the masala for the dal.
Ginger and garlic: Use fresh ginger and garlic for best-tasting dal.
Spices: The powdered spices I use are coriander powder, cumin powder, chilli powder, hing, and garam masala.
Tips for making the best dal makhani
Simmer the dal over low flame for a minimum of 30 minutes. This is the best way to make the best-tasting dal makhani. Once the masala is ready, add the cooked dal, adjust consistency and let it simmer.
Soak the urad dal and rajma for a minimum of 8 hours. Soaking them for a long time will help achieve the creaminess.
Pressure cook the dal well. It is important to make sure the dal is completely cooked before adding it to the masala.
Don't shy away from using butter. This is a rich dish and lots of butter goes into making it. If you cut down on butter, you will not get that creamy and delicious dal makhani you enjoy in restaurants.
Lightly mash the dal before simmering. This will help achieve thickness and creaminess.
Make the second tempering with ghee (see recipe) and add it towards the end. Don't skip it - consider this the game-changer.
Make sure you make a large batch as magically leftover dal makhani tastes even better the next day!
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This dish is:
- made restaurant-style
- buttery, rich, and creamy
- great for parties or when you have guests at home
- freezer-friendly. It can be frozen for up to three months
Step by step instructions
1. Soak the lentils in water overnight and boil them in a pressure cooker till done.
2. Fry onions till golden brown, then saute ginger and garlic.
3. Add tomatoes, and spices, and cook till oil separates.
4. Add the cooked dal and simmer.
5. Prepare the tempering (seasoning) and mix with the dal.
Dal makhani served with naan
- 1 cup whole black gram
- ¼ cup red kidney beans
- Salt to taste
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 2 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 2 inch ginger finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 2 tomato finely chopped
- 2 teaspoon garam masala
- A generous pinch asafoetida (hing)
- Soak the whole black gram and red kidney beans in a large bowl with sufficient water for minimum of 8 hours (or overnight)
- Rinse the lentils thoroughly and transfer to a pot. Add 3 cups of water and salt to taste
- Cover and cook until the lentils are completely done. You may use a pressure cooker to cook the lentils
- Heat butter in a pan. Add the bay leaf, cumin seeds, and saute for a few seconds
- Add onions and fry till they are light golden brown. Cook on a low-medium flame
- Add ginger, garlic and fry until the onion is golden brown
- Add the tomato, ½ tsp salt and cook for further 4-5 minutes (till the tomatoes are almost done)
- Add turmeric, coriander powder, cumin powder, chilli powder. Mix well and simmer until the tomatoes and spices are done
- Once the gravy starts releasing oil, add the cooked lentil and mix well
- Adjust the consistency by adding some water and bring it to a boil. Simmer the dal for 30 minutes to 1 hour
- To prepare tempering, heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a small pan. Add garam masala, hing, and mix. Saute for a few seconds
- Pour the tempering on the dal and mix well
- Serve hot
- Slow-cooked dal gives the best taste and flavour
- Optionally, you can add some cream before serving