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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dal Makhni

Dal makhani is a treasured staple food, originally from Punjab in North India. This dish is a type of daal (boiled lentils or other dried legume/pulse) eaten in India (in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and the Bhojpuri area of Bihar) and Pakistan. As well as with roti or rice, it is also commonly eaten with either naan or chapatis.

Dal Makhani is one of Punjabi cuisine's most characteristic signature dishes, and is high in protein--an important attribute in primarily vegetarian cultures. Traditionally this dal is cooked on low flame, for hours, on charcoal, which gives it a rich creamy texture.

When cooked at home today, more moderate amounts of cream or butter are often used. When prepared in restaurants in India, Pakistan, the United Kingdom or United States, it is cooked slowly on low heat and usually has a large amount of cream and/or butter added.

To make it last min you may want to use the pressure cooker, if you plan it ahead of time you can used slow cooker to cook this.


1 cup black urad sabut (black lentils)
½ cup of round masoor sabut (lentils 50g rajma (red kidney beans)
¼ cup of kidney beans (I used one can of Kidney beans)
¼ cup of Channa dal (Bengal gram dal)
¼ cup of Kasoori Methi (dried fenugreek leaves available at local Indian grocers)
2” piece of ginger (divide it in half)
6 cloves of garlic (divide them in half)
2 green chilies or 1 Jalapeno pepper
2 small onions finely chopped in food processor along with above green chilies/jalapeno pepper
Salt to taste
½ stick of butter or ghee of equivalent amount, you can use oil if preferred
2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
2” cinnamon stick
2 pods of dry red chili
¼ teaspoon of asafetida
1 cup of tomato puree
1 table spoon of cumin powder
1 table spoon of coriander powder
½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
½ teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of paprika powder
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
¼ cup of ketchup
1 teaspoon of garam masala or all spice
1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream and ½ stick of butter for finish
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro leaves


• Wash all the lentils (urad, masoor, rajma and channa dal) in water 3 -4 x changing water every time.

• Soak them in water for 4-6 hours or overnight.

• Boil all of the lentils with salt, the half of ginger and garlic, and kasoori methi, in pressure cooker. (I usually add one teaspoon of baking soda if did not have time to soak the lentils I also add 2 tea bags for nice brown color.

• If you don’t have pressure cooker, you can cook them on stove and simmer until tender and well cooked.

• Drain off excess water and mash the lentils lightly with the back of a ladle.

• Heat the butter or ghee in a heavy pan until hot.

• Add the cumin seeds when they crackle, add bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and red chili pods.

• Stir in asafetida; add garlic and ginger paste, sauté until light brown.

• Add onions and green chili paste and sauté until light brown.

• Add tomato puree and stir and cook for 2 min.

• Add all the powdered spices except garam masala and cook for 1-2 min.

• Add cooked dal, mixing well, add ketchup and mix well.

• Bring the dal to the boil again, add butter and cream.

• Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes with occasional stirring to make sure it does not stick to the bottom of pan.

• Add the garam masala, taste and adjust salt and seasonings.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot.

This recipe yields about 8 serving.

Description of Dal Makni source:

Photographs and recipe by Surekha.

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