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Punjabi Dal Makhani in a black bowl with salad bowl and naan on side

Dal Makhani

Shweta Arora
Dal Makhani is a very popular and loved recipe from North Indian cuisine. It is made from black lentils and red kidney beans and is rich, creamy, buttery, and pairs perfectly with rice or naan.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 8 hrs
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 9 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people
Calories 241 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • ¾ cup whole black lentils sabut urad dal or black gram
  • ¼ cup red kidney beans rajma
  • 2 tablespoon butter + dollop more for finishing (optional). Use oil or vegan butter to make it vegan
  • 1-2 black cardamoms
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (zeera)
  • ¼ teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
  • 1 inch ginger piece grated or 1 tablespoon minced
  • 6 garlic cloves minced or 1 tablespoon minced
  • 1-2 green chillies finely chopped optional, adjust to taste
  • 1 cup tomato puree (store bought) or (use 2-3 tomatoes pureed approx 1 cup pureed + 1 tablespoon tomato paste)
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • pinch black pepper adjust to taste
  • 2 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
  • 1 tablespoon kasuri methi dry fenugreek leaves
  • ¼ cup cream skip for making it vegan or add cashew cream

For Dungar Method (optional):

  • 1 smalll piece of charcoal
  • 1 teaspoon oil or ghee

For Serving

  • 1 tablespoon butter or as needed
  • 1-2 tablespoon cream or as needed
  • few ginger slices thin julienne, optional
  • 2-4 tablespoon cilantro leaves optional

Instructions
 

Soaking:

  • Wash whole black lentils (sabut urad dal) and red kidney bean (rajma) a couple of times and soak them both together overnight or at least for 5-8 hours.

To make Dal Makhani in Instant Pot (One pot cooking):

  • Start the Instant Pot on saute mode and once hot add the butter (or oil). Stir in the whole spices bay leaf, black and green cardamom along with cumin seeds and asafoetida (hing).
  • Once the the seeds splutter, add the onions and some salt and saute until onions are golden brown.
  • Stir in the ginger garlic and saute until the raw garlic smell goes away.
  • Add in the tomato puree, cook for 2 mins then add the spices red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  • Drain the water off the soaked dal and add them to the pot along with 3 cups of water, give it a good mix.
  • Close the Instant Pot lid with vent to sealing position and pressure cook on manual or bean chilli mode for 30 mins followed by natural release.
  • Open the lid, crush the kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) between your palms and add that along with 1 cup water and mix. At this point the dal is cooked but it needs to be simmered or slow cooked to get that creamy and unique dal Makhni flavor and texture.
  • Start instant pot back on saute (low) and bring the dal to a simmer. Keep stirring intermittently and mashing the dal with back of the spoon a few times. As the dal simmers it gets thicker too so adjust the consistency by adding ¼ cup of water at a time as needed while simmering.
  • After 15 mins, add in the dollop of butter (optional), cream and mix well. The dal will get lighter in color after adding cream.
  • Simmer for another 15-20 mins stirring intermittently and you will notice the dal getting darker again and creamier.
  • Our delicious Dal Makhani is ready to be served. Serve it topped with some more butter, drizzle of cream, some cilantro and ginger slices (optional) with side of rice or roti/naan and some salad and chutney.
  • Optional - Follow the steps for Dungar Method below to get that restaurant style dal Makhani with smoky flavor.

To make Dal Makhani in traditional Pressure Cooker

  • Drain the water off the soaked dal and add it to pressure cooker with 4 cups water, whole spices bay leaf, black and green cardamom cardamom, asafoetida and 1 teaspoon salt. Pressure cook for 4-5 whistles on high and then turn the heat to low and cook for another 30 mins. Switch off the heat and allow the steam to escape completely before opening the lid.
  • Now in a pan melt the butter (or oil), to this add the cumin seeds. Once they splutter add the onions and cook until golden brown. Then add ginger garlic green chillies and cook until the raw garlic smell goes away.
  • Stir in the tomato puree and cook till the water evaporates. At this point add in spices - salt, pepper, red chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala. Mix well and cook till the masala starts oozing oil from sides. Add this tempering to the cooked dal and mix. Crush the kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) between your palms and add to the dal.
  • On low flame simmer the dal for 30mins -2 hours. Longer the better. Mash the dal with back of spoon for a few times and keep stirring intermittently and scraping the sides. Add water ¼ cup at a time to adjust consistency in between. Lastly add cream and dollop of butter and give it a good stir. Simmer for another 15-20 mins.
  • Our delicious Dal Makhani is ready to be served. Serve it topped with some more butter, drizzle of cream, some cilantro and ginger slices (optional) with side of rice or roti/naan and some salad and chutney.
  • Optional - Follow the steps for Dungar Method below to get that restaurant style dal Makhani with smoky flavor.

To make Dal Makhani on Stove top

  • Follow the same process as mentioned for cooking in pressure cooker. First cook the lentils in thick bottomed pan for 50mins-1 hours covered stirring intermittently until they are soft. Make the tempering in a separate pan and once the lentils are cooked add tempering to cooked dal and then simmer for 1-2 hours on low flame. Finish with cream and dollop of butter.

Dungar Method (optional):

  • Using tongs place a small piece of charcoal on flame until it red hot, turning occasionally so all sides are evenly hot.Place the hot coal piece into a small stainless steel bowl (that would fit inside the pot). Place the stainless steel bowl on a trivet inside the pot.
  • Add ½ teaspoon of oil/ghee over the charcoal. You will see it immediately starts to smoke. Cover and keep it closed for a minute or two to infuse the smoky flavor to the dal. Keeping it for too long may lead to excessive smoky flavor so make sure not to exceed more than a min or two. Remove the bowl and mix. Dal Makhani is ready to be served.

Notes

  • Soak the whole black lentils and red kidney beans as it makes them easier to digest as well as reduces the cooking time. 
  • Don't skimp on butter and cream. These are one of the main components of Daal Makhani. Using butter to cook the onions adds a lot of flavor. 
  • Add freshly grated ginger-garlic for more depth of flavor. I use my food processor for getting the finely chopped consistency of onions, ginger, and garlic. 
  • Use store-bought tomato puree since its more concentrated and gives a great flavor and dark color which is the signature trademark of this dal. 
  • After many tries, I've found the combination of a few whole spices and ground spices gives the perfect flavor. 
  • Last but not least, slow cook or simmer the dal on low heat for a minimum of 30 mins to a couple of hours to get that deep flavor and thick and creamy texture. The more this dal simmers the more creamy it gets and better it tastes. 
  • Try the dungar method for that smoky Dhaba style or restaurant style dal makhani taste.
  • Use my homemade Punjabi garam masala that goes very well with this recipe. 

Nutrition

Calories: 241kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 1246mg | Potassium: 457mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 721IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 5mg
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