Dal Makhani

By DK on Feb 25, 2011
Maa Di Dal | Maa ki Dal

From the Archives: In the quest of clearing out my pantry, I came across a bag of whole black lentils. Commonly referred to as "Urad dal" in Hindi, these beauties are more famously used in making this dish called as Dal Makhani. I made these again recently to use the bag up among quite a few other dishes. I had to update this post with few notes on making it a Low Calorie Treat. Its very easy and this is one of those dishes which are immensely forgiving when it comes to making it literally fat free. The new pictures that I have added to this post are of this "Low Calorie" version. Can you tell the difference?:)

Also known as "Kaali Dal", "Maa Di Dal" or simply "Maa Ki Dal" - Dal Makhani by any other name would taste just as yummy and delicious. This Punjabi delicacy is another feather to Indian cuisine. Rich, creamy lentils cooked with assorted spices makes it one of the best warm and soul foods ever! Dal (lentil) Makhani (cream/butter) as the name insists is filled with calories and is a special treat. There are few variations and I have tried them all. I have finally settled down to this recipe. The secret to best Dal makhani is the number of hours one cooks the lentils.

Maa Di Dal | Maa ki Dal
Traditionally, the Dals are simmered overnight in Tandoor which enhances the taste. Otherwise, I find that soaking the lentils a little longer than norm also does the same. No scientific explanation - just experience. I usually soak it say evening when I need to make this dish for next day's lunch. Otherwise you can use slow cooker if you have one.!  A low calorie version is very easy. Replace Butter with oil and cream with 2% milk. Cooking it for a long time, makes it rich tasting and creamier without the cream and butter. Try it, you wont miss the high calorie version.
Basic Information
Prep Time: 8 hours to 1 day
Cook Time: Under 30 min
Serves: 4 people
  • 1 cup whole black lentils ( whole black Urad dal )
  • 1/4 cup Bengal gram
  • 1/2 cup Kidney beans
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1-2 tsp green chillies, sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp cumin-coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 tsp dried Fenugreek leaves ( Kasuri Methi )
  • 3 tbsp butter (or 1-2 tsp of vegetable oil)
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 2" cinnamon stick
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 cup cream ( or 2% milk or use Coconut milk to make it Vegan (thanks for the tip Kniffel)
  • salt to taste and cilantro to garnish
Notes:1. While using store bought tomato puree, make sure its the low sodium variety. Or if not available, add salt towards the end accordingly. Also the store bought varieties tend to leave a sharp taste in the mouth. Add it diluted if too strong. 2. Instead of adding whole spices while cooking, you can make a spice bag and add it while cooking the lentils. Pack cloves,cinnamon stick and cardamom pods along with bay leaf in a cheesecloth and drop it in the cooking water of lentils. Pressure cook and remove this bag after its cooked.
Soak the lentils and kidney beans overnight.
Maa Di Dal | Maa ki Dal
Rinse them well in cold water.
Maa Di Dal | Maa ki Dal
Cook them in a pressure cooker for 3-4 whistles. It alright to cook longer cos its hard to spoil this dish. The long cooking also enhances the flavor for this dish.
Maa Di Dal | Maa ki Dal
Cook until cooked, almost mushy.
Maa Di Dal | Maa ki Dal
Take a potato masher/ladle and mash the lentils well.
Maa Di Dal | Maa ki Dal
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, add butter (or 1 tsp oil)  along with cloves, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, cumin-coriander powder,bay leaf, ginger-garlic paste, chillies and onions. Saute until aromatic and onions gets soft.
Maa Di Dal | Maa ki Dal
Add the Tomato puree, close the lid (unless you love being covered with tomato puree ;-)) and cook for 5 min until the raw tomato smell leaves.
Maa Di Dal | Maa ki Dal
Now add the lentil mixture,
Maa Di Dal | Maa ki Dal
reduce the heat to simmer, add salt close the lid and slow cook for 15-20 min.
Maa Di Dal | Maa ki Dal
Stir occasionally to avoid the lentils from sticking to the bottom.
Maa Di Dal | Maa ki Dal
Add the fenugreek leaves along with cardamom powder, stir and then add the cream ( or 2% milk/fat free milk).
Maa Di Dal | Maa ki Dal
Cook for 5 more minutes and serve hot garnished with Naan/ Roti garnished with cilantro. Maa Di Dal | Maa ki Dal I usually pair it with Roti/ Phulkas, few sliced onions and bowl of fresh curd. It makes a hearty and protein rich meal. Maa Di Dal | Maa ki Dal
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12 members have made this recipe!
Did you make this recipe?Please click below to share your experiences while you were making this recipe. Thanks for your input!
113 Responses to “Dal Makhani”

    Oh thank you for the lovely action of sharing

  2. Marija

    Is it possible to use split black lentils? How do you change the recipe?

    Oh def. yes. Just use equal amount. –DK

  3. It is a really nice way to learn new recepies :) :-P .good

  4. Asma

    I tried the recipe for the first time and it turned out delicious. thanks for sharing nice and easy recipes.

  5. Tini Dcruz

    :lol: loved it..!! Thank you..!! Have also shared the recipe with my friend..!! Coz I know this is a recipe going in my personal recipe book..!!

  6. Elizabeth

    I love this recipe! My only question is how much time is 3-4 whistles? My pressure cooker doesn’t whistle, so I’m not sure what this means.

    Around 15 minutes. This might vary depending on the type of pressure cooker. Just check around 12 min mark. –DK

  7. Pav

    Hi, will the cream not split when I put it into the hot daal?

  8. This was the best dish on the buffet today. Glad I found the recipe! Pro you know how many calories are in the low cal version? Thanks!

  9. Dilmera

    Hello DK, I somehow can’t find chilli powder in this recipe. Have you made this recipe without adding chilli powder?

  10. Heena Chandnani

    I have tried this recepi 2wice and it’s turned out to be tasty’ it’s one of my favourite dishes of Indian cuisine thank you for sharing ur recepi with us !

  11. Saurabh

    Can I use fresh tomatoa instead of puree? Plus how long should one cook the dal in a pot as i too dont have a cooker :(

  12. Cori

    Hi! I really want to try this recipe but I don’t own a pressure cooker. Do you think this recipe can be done with a crockpot instead? Thanks!

    Definitely yes. In fact crockpot would be the best way to cook Dal Makhani :) –DK

  13. I am delighted to find this recipe, as it sounds delicious and I have a bag of ural dal in my pantry I’ve been looking for ways to use (I bought it needing only a few teaspoons!). The beans are hulled, though, not whole. Will that have a negative effect on this dish?

    Not really. It should still work. The end product will look different but taste wise it should still be good. –DK

  14. Manon

    Can I use chick peas instead of bengal gram? It is really hard to find where I live.

    Just skip it. It won’t make a huge difference. –DK

  15. Jay

    hi thanks for the recipe. just wondering what you do with the bengal gram flour as its mentioned in your ingredients list but isn’t mentioned in the method steps. cheers and will let you know how I get on

    I do use them. If you saw pics 1, 2 and 3, you can see it being used along with Urad and kidney beans. –DK

  16. Nirupama Guha

    Tried this recipe this morning…. Delicious.. Slurrrrp… It came out to be so yummy. Thanks for this one. Pls share more of recipes

  17. farah

    I tried lots of dal makhani recipes. But this one was quite close to the restaurant style

  18. Pooja

    :-P I made this recipie many times at home and it was awesome

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