Dal Makhani Recipe | Dal Bukhara Recipe | Maa ki dal
Dal Makhani is a popular Indian vegetarian dish consisting of black lentils and red kidney beans in a butter rich gravy. My grandmother used to slow cook these lentils overnight, on a bed of charcoal. Back home, we usually prepare this dish on special occasions & family dinners as it is a rich concoction.
Serves – 4
3/4 cup Urad Dal ( Black Matpe Beans or Black Lentils)
1/3 cup Rajma ( Red Kidney Beans)
1 medium Onion, Finely chopped (Optional)
3 medium Tomatoes, Puree
4 – 1/2″ pieces Ginger
1 tsp. Garlic paste (or grated garlic)
2 pods Green Cardamom
1 Cinnamon stick ( 1 inch )
2 Green Chili, slit
1.5 tbsp. Dry Fenugreek Leaves
1/2 tsp Red Chili Powder/ Cayenne
3.5 cups + 1/2cup Water (or more)
2 tsp + more Butter, as required
Cream, as required
1 tsp. Oil
Salt to taste
1. Rinse and soak the dal (lentils) & rajma (red kidney beans) in enough water overnight or for minimum 8 hours.
2. After the soaking time, discard the water and rinse the soaked lentils & beans in fresh water.
3. In a pressure cooker, take 3.5 cups of water and add 1/2 tsp. salt, green chilies, ginger pieces alongwith the dal and rajma . Pressure cook on high flame till the first whistle and then reduce the heat and cook for another 25 minutes. Please note, that the heat should be low enough, that there are no more whistles during these 25 minutes.
4. After the cooking time, turn off the heat and set aside to cool. Open the lid, only once the pressure settles down.
5. In the meanwhile, in a non-stick skillet, heat the oil and 2 tsp.butter on medium heat and add the whole spices – cinnamon, cardamon and cloves. Stir and fry until the oil becomes fragrant.
6. Next, add the chopped onions. Keep stirring the onions at regular intervals and cook until translucent and light golden. Now, add the garlic paste and cook until the raw smell of garlic disappears.
7. Add the tomato purée and cook for 3-4 minutes and add a little salt + red chili powder. Cook till the oil droplets collect on the edges and the tomatoes are fully cooked. Once the masala is cooked, remove and discard the whole spices – cardamoms , cloves & the cinnamon stick.
8. Add this prepared masala, to the boiled lentils. Mix well, bring to a boil and then simmer until the dal thickens slightly. You may use the back of the spoon/ladle to mash a few beans. This helps to thicken the curry. The trick is slowly cook the dal to get the most flavor out.
9. Check for seasoning and add salt as required. Add a few dollops of butter and cook until the desired consistency is achieved. Add 1/2 cup water or as required, if you feel the consistency is too thick. Cook for a few more minutes.
10. Crush and sprinkle dry fenugreek leaves and give it a good stir. Turn off the heat.
11.Dal Makhani is now ready to be served. Garnish with dollops of cream/ butter and serve hot with naan, rotis, paranthas or rice.
1. You may use canned red kidney beans to prepare this dish. If using canned beans, they can be added to the boiled lentils with the onion-tomato masala.
2. Please be careful while adding salt as it is being added in different stages. Butter also contains salt, so adjust the quantity accordingly.
3. The prepared lentils tend to thicken with time so add the water/ adjust consistency accordingly.
4. They taste best, when simmered/slow-cooked over low flame for a longer time. The taste is enhanced the next day. I always prepare these a few hours ahead of serving.
5. There is no fixed quantity for butter and cream in this recipe, you may add as much as you like .
6. If not using Onions/Garlic, prepare the masala with whole spices & tomato. The ginger pieces can be discarded, once the dal is ready.