Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dal Makhani

Continuing on with the meal, the next on the list is dal makhani, which I have now nailed after several attempts in the last year and a half. I have learned that you cannot make dal makhani from recipes online. I have read so many recipes that I've lost count. I even tried to make it from this one post that claimed it was the same recipe of dal makhani from the Oberoi Hotel. Whatever. It wasn't all that great. Many recipes forbid using onions for dal makhani. I have tried it with and without and I like it way more with onions. Anyway, here is my take on this dish:


1 cup whole urad dal (kaali dal)
1/4 cup red kidney beans (rajma)
5 tbsp chana dal (bengal gram)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup tomato puree
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped (I like to add half a tsp more in the end, as well)
1 Serrano pepper, finely chopped (green chili)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cumin
a pinch of asafoetida
2 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
3 tbsp garam masala
2 tbsp deggi mirch powder
4 tbsp full cream
cilantro for garnish


1. Soak the urad dal, rajma and chana dal in warm water. Let it sit for 2-4 hours. Later, in a pressure cooker, pressure cook the lentils with 4-5 cups of water, 2 tbsp of salt, half the ginger and a pinch of asafoetida, until they are soft. Once they are cooked, release the steam and open the pressure cooker to check if the lentils are soft enough to eat. Don't cook too much or too less. The lentils should retain their shape and still be soft from the inside.

Warning: Do NOT attempt to open the pressure cooker without releasing steam. You may severely end up burning yourself if you try to do that. If you're not comfortable using a pressure cooker, boil the lentils in a pot. It'll take much longer that way.

2. Heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds and a pinch asafoetida.

3. Then add chopped onions, green chili, ginger and garlic.

4. Once the onions turn translucent, move them to one side of the pan and add tomato puree on the other side and cook.

5. Mix everything together. Add salt, coriander powder and turmeric powder. Cook for ten minutes until you have a nice thick masala (called tadka) ready.

6. These were the main steps. Now comes the easy part. Once your tadka is ready, add it to the cooked lentils. There should still be enough water in the cooker to mix the tadka and make a curry. If you feel there isn't enough water and the curry is starting to look thick, add some hot water according to your desired consistency. Let it come to a boil. Add any remaining ginger.

7. Then add the cream, garam masala, deggi mirch powder and salt according to your taste. Keep stirring and let it come to a boil again. Keep boiling until the curry becomes consistent and mixed with all the ingredients. You should have a creamy texture to the curry. Let it simmer for 15 minutes. Taste check for salt and spice levels. Add more garam masala or salt, if needed.

8. Before serving, garnish with chopped, fresh cilantro.

And that's it! Some people like to add butter to it in the end and more cream and what not. I like to keep it as healthy as possible and I think it still tastes pretty good without the butter or extra cream.

Dal makhani tastes even better when reheated the next day.

Hope you like it.

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