top of page
  • Writer's pictureBenwen Lopez

Dal Makhani

If you like Punjabi food, you will love this restaurant style, dal makhani recipe. It is a popular lentil recipe made with whole urad dal and kidney beans. At first glance the recipe might seem elaborate. It is but it is so worth it. 

Credit:Dassana Amit

Collect it:

Main ingredients

· ¾ cup whole urad dal or 140 grams whole urad dal

· ¼ cup rajma or 40 grams rajma (kidney beans)

· 3 cups water for pressure cooking or 750 ml water

· 1 medium onion or 50 grams onion or ½ cup finely chopped onions

· 1 or 2 green chilies – chopped

· 2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste or 6 to 7 garlic + 1 inch ginger – crushed to a paste in mortar-pestle

· 2 large tomatoes or 200 grams tomatoes pureed or 1 cup tomato puree

· ½ teaspoon cumin seeds

· 2 to 3 cloves

· 2 to 3 green cardamoms

· 1 black cardamom

· 1 inch cinnamon

· 1 small to medium tej patta (indian bay leaf)

· ½ teaspoon red chili powder

· 2 to 3 pinches of nutmeg powder or grated nutmeg

· 1 cup of water or add as required

· ¼ to ⅓ cup low fat cream – 25% to 30% fat

· ½ tablespoon low fat cream for garnish

· ¼ teaspoon crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)

· 3 tablespoon butter – salted or unsalted

· salt as required

For dhungar method: (optional)

· 1 small piece of charcoal

· ½ to ⅔ teaspoon oil

Make it:

Preparation for dal makhani. Soak both 3/4 cup whole urad dal and 1/4 cup rajma/kidney beans overnight in enough water for 8 to 9 hours or overnight. Later drain them well.

Rinse both the lentils a couple of times in water.

Drain again and then add them in a pressure cooker. Add 3 cups water and stir well.

Pressure cook for 18 to 20 whistles on a high flame, till both the urad dal and rajma have cooked thoroughly and softened. If they are not cooked, then add about 1/2 cup water again and pressure cook for 4 to 5 whistles more. The urad dal should melt in the mouth and should not give any bite or resistance when eaten. You can also just mash the urad dal with a spoon or with your fingers to check the doneness. The same rule applies for rajma too. Keep the cooked beans aside.

In a blender or mixer jar, take chopped tomatoes. 2 large tomatoes or 200 grams of tomatoes, chopped. (I used Tomato puree)

Blend to a smooth puree. Keep aside. You can also use ready 1 cup tomato puree instead of blending the tomatoes. No need to blanch the tomatoes while pureeing.

making dal makhani

In a pan, now heat 3 tbsp butter. You can use salted butter or unsalted butter.

Add the whole spices – 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 2 to 3 cloves, 2 to 3 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom, 1 inch cinnamon, 1 small to medium tej patta/bay leaf.

Sauté till the spices become aromatic.

Then add 1/2 cup finely chopped onions.

Stir and sauté the onions on a low flame often till they become light golden.

Then add 2 tsp ginger garlic paste. Stir again and saute till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.

Add 1 tsp chopped green chilies and stir for a minute.

Then add the tomato puree and stir again.

Add 1/2 tsp red chili powder and 2 to 3 pinches of grated nutmeg or nutmeg powder.

Stir very well and saute this mixture on a low to medium flame, till you see fat releasing from the sides.

Then add the cooked urad dal and rajma beans along with the stock. Also add 1 cup water or as required.

Slow cooking dal makhani

Stir very well and simmer the dal makhani uncovered on a low flame.

Keep on stirring often, so that the lentils don’t stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Once it has begun to thicken, add salt as required.

Stir very well and continue to simmer on a low flame. When simmering you can add more water if the gravy looks thick or dry. The longer you keep dal makhani to simmer, the better it tastes. I kept it for about an overall 25 minutes on a low flame. Do keep on stirring at intervals.

When the gravy has thickened enough, then add 1/4 to 1/3 cup cream. Dal makhani is not too thick or too thin. It has a medium consistency. Stir the cream very well. Then switch off the flame. Now add 1/4 tsp kasuri methi, crushed. Stir again. Cover and keep the dal makhani aside, if you are proceeding to the dhungar method. Or else you can serve dal makhni straight away.

Dhungar method for dal makhani

Heat a small piece of charcoal on flame till it becomes red hot. With the help of tongs, keep on turning the charcoal piece so that it evenly burns. Keep the red hot charcoal in a small bowl. Pour 1/2 teaspoon oil on the charcoal. Immediately keep this bowl on top of the dal makhani. Cover for a minute and allow the charcoal to infuse its smoke in the dal makhni. I always keep for one minute. Serve punjabi dal makhani garnished with chopped coriander leaves and a few teaspoons of cream with naan, tandoori roti, chapatis or steamed rice.


If cooking the beans in a pot, it may take from 45 minutes to 1 hour.

#MainCourse #Punjabi #Vegetarian

bottom of page