Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dal Makhani

This makes a restaurant style Dal Makhani. It is so creamy and rich not to mention comforting that you will want to lick the bowl after the dal is long gone.

The other weekend when we were making our usual round of Costco, a store I hate as it makes my pantry look like it is bursting at the seams, they were handing out samples of  Madras Lentils from Tasty Bites, now I thought from the name that it might be something like Sambhar. But it was Dal Makhani !! I still do not get why they would call Dal Makhani - which is a north Indian dish - Madras lentil.

Anyway it was really tasty and my husband requested that I make this for him. This recipe tasted far better and it is home-made to boot. Try it and see for yourself.

Serves 4


1 cup black whole urad dal ( available at Indian grocery stores )
1/4 cup uncooked rajmah / red kidney beans
1/4 cup channa dal / split bengal gram dal
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera seeds
2 inch cinnamon stick / dalchini
1 whole dried bay leaf / tej patta
2 green cardamom pods / elaichi
5 -6 cloves / lavang
3 large garlic cloves, either make a paste or finely chop it
1 inch ginger piece, either make a paste or finely chop it
1 large red onion, finely chopped
3-4 small thai green chilies, finely chopped ( add more if you like it more spicy and hot )
1/2 tsp turmeric powder / haldi
1/2 - 1 tsp cayenne powder / red chilli powder / lal mirchi powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves / kasoori methi
1 cup tomato puree or 2 tbsp tomato paste
1 - 1 1/2 cups of water ( optional, add only if your dal mixture is too thick )
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt, to taste
3 tbsp chopped cilantro

  • Soak all the three dals separately overnight. Next day change the water and pressure cook them till they are fully cooked. If you do not use the pressure cooker, cook on stove-top in a large saucepan with lots of water. Cook till the dals are fully cooked. It is cooked when you can smash the dal between your thumb and forefinger.
  • In a large saucepan, heat the oil and butter on medium heat. When hot add the cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, cloves and cardamom pods, and let the whole thing sizzle in the oil for about 5-10 seconds, depending on how hot the oil is.
  • As soon as the above whole masalas sizzle and change their color to brown add the ginger, garlic and green chilies and saute this for another 10-15 seconds.
  • Next goes in the onions, saute till it turns pinkish in color. Now add the turmeric powder, cayenne powder, garam masala, dried fenugreek leaves and the tomato paste. Mix it all well and let this saute for about 5 minutes on medium low heat, uncovered.
  • Add the cooked dals, mash them a little with the back of your spoon, and add the water if it seems too thick. Cover and let it come to a boil.
  • Remove cover, add cream and salt. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Add the cilantro, reserving 1 tbsp for garnish. Stir it all together. Remove from the stove. Garnish and serve with hot naans or Basmati rice.

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