Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani

Prep Time : 8 hrs
Cook Time : 1 hr
Total Time : 9 hrs


Main ingredients

  • ¾ cup whole urad dal , 140 grams (whole black gram)
  • ¼ cup rajma , 40 grams (kidney beans)
  • 3 cups water for pressure cooking , 750 ml water
  • ½ cup finely chopped onions , 50 grams onion or 1 medium sized onion
  • 1 teaspoon chopped green chilies or serrano peppers or 1 to 2 green chillies
  • 2 teaspoons Ginger Garlic Paste or 6 to 7 small to medium-sized garlic + 1 inch ginger – crushed to a paste in mortar-pestle
  • 2 large tomatoes , 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 or cayenne pepper or smoked paprika
  • 2 to 3 pinches grated nutmeg or ground nutmeg powder
  • 1 cup water or add as required
  • ¼ to ⅓ cup low fat cream or half and half or 2 tablespoons heavy cream or
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) – optional
  • 3 tablespoon Butter – salted or unsalted
  • salt as required

For dhungar method (optional)

  • 1 small piece of charcoal
  • ½ to ⅔ teaspoon oil – any neutral tasting oil

For garnish

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • ½ tablespoon low fat cream or half and half for garnish – optional
  • 1 inch ginger julienne – optional



  • Soak both the whole urad dal and rajma 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 3 litre pressure cooker. Add 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 ½ 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 and blend to a smooth puree. Set aside.
  • You can also add 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 butter. You can use salted butter or unsalted butter.
  • Add the whole spices – cumin seeds, cloves, green cardamoms, black cardamom, 1 inch cinnamon, 1 small to medium tej patta.
  • Fry for some seconds till the spices sputter and become aromatic.
  • Add finely chopped onions.
  • Stir and sauté the onions on a low or medium-low heat often till they become light golden.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste. Stir again and sauté for some seconds till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
  • Add the chopped green chilies and sauté for a minute.
  • Add the prepared tomato puree and mix well.
  • Add red chili powder and 2 to 3 pinches of grated nutmeg or nutmeg powder.
  • Stir very well and sauté 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

  • 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. Keep on stirring when the lentils are simmered on low heat.
  • 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 cream. Dal makhani is not too thick or too thin. It has a medium consistency.
  • Mix the cream very well. Then switch off the heat.
  • Add crushed kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves). Mix again.
  • Cover and set dal makhani aside, if you are proceeding to the dhungar method. Or else you can serve dal makhni straight away.

Dhungar method

  • 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 ½ teaspoon oil on the hot 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. Remove the bowl. Stir again.
  • Serve punjabi dal makhani garnished with chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) and a few teaspoons of cream with naan, roti, paratha or steamed rice.

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