Dal Bukhara

By DK on Sep 24, 2012
Indian Curry Recipes |  Dal Recipes | Easy Dal Makhani Recipe
Legumes play such a huge role in my pantry. I tend to make something or the other which involves a lentil or dried beans more than 3-4 times per week.  Dals are as common a side dish in an Indian's household as probably pasta is to Italian (or in fact even an American) household. If you like Dal Makhani, then you would most probably like this one too.
Indian Curry Recipes |  Dal Recipes | Easy Dal Makhani Recipe
I tend to refer to this as a less pompous/ modest cousin of the more popular Dal Makhani. The similarity tends to be its main ingredient - Indian Black Lentils or " Urad dal" in Hindi. While the Makhani tends to add in kidney beans (and optionally channa dal/bengal gram lentils) along with it, this one does fine without and all by its lonesome. While Makhani is more about cream and richness (as its name denotes - "Makhani" meaning cream), this one is more based on tomato sauce.
Indian Curry Recipes |  Dal Recipes | Easy Dal Makhani Recipe
Of course, you can make this rich too by adding some milk/cream but in my personal opinion, it really doesn't need any. And also its perfect for those watching their calories who wouldn't miss out on any of the richness.

my kitchen notes

Basic Information
Prep Time: 4 to 8 hours
Cook Time: 30 min to 1 hour
Serves: 4 people
  • 1 cup (7oz/200 grams) Whole Black Gram (Indian Black lentils/Urad dal)
  • 1 medium Onion, finely chopped
  • 4 med-large Tomatoes chopped, preferably ripe
  • 2 tbsp Tomato paste, see Tips
  • 1 Jalapeno/Green Chilies, as per taste
  • Abt 2" ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • Large pinch of Asafoetida
  • 1 tsp Cumin-Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp dried Fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
  • Abt 1 tbsp Jaggery, grated, or as per taste - see Tips
  • About 1/3 cup finely chopped onions (optional) and cilantro sprigs for garnish
1. Tomato Paste: If you do not have tomato paste, you can substitute it with some tomato puree - approx 2-3 tbsp for 1 tbsp of the paste.
2. Jaggery: Sugar generally tends to balance out that acidic/sour taste of the tomatoes. I try to opt for natural sweeteners instead of refined wherever it seems feasible to me. But you can use regular sugar instead. You would need to adjust the amount according to the taste of your tomatoes.
Soak the lentil for 6-8 hours. I do it the previous night after washing it in cold water couple of times.
Indian Curry Recipes |  Dal Recipes | Easy Dal Makhani Recipe
You can choose to either cook it on a stove top for 30-40 minutes (or until cooked) or go the Indian (easy and fastest) route of using your pressure cooker. Take only around 10 minutes without you having to check on water levels. Add the bay leaf and 3 cups water to the lentils.
Indian Curry Recipes |  Dal Recipes | Easy Dal Makhani Recipe
Pressure cook to 3-4 whistles. Its perfectly OK if its mushy 'cos that's what you want for this.
Indian Curry Recipes |  Dal Recipes | Easy Dal Makhani Recipe
Mash it with a potato masher. Though you don't per se this much water to cook the lentils, I add it since this is a gravy based dish. Set aside.
Indian Curry Recipes |  Dal Recipes | Easy Dal Makhani Recipe
While the lentils were cooking, you can alternatively heat up a pan. Add 1-2 tbsp butter (or 2-3 tsp oil, if richness is not necessary). Add cumin along with Asafoetida and when aromatic, add the onion and chilies.  Saute for a minute and add the garlic and ginger.
Indian Curry Recipes |  Dal Recipes | Easy Dal Makhani Recipe
Next goes the chopped tomatoes. Add the salt and saute for another minute.
Indian Curry Recipes |  Dal Recipes | Easy Dal Makhani Recipe
Add 1 cup water, increase the heat and let it cook for another 5-6 minutes
Indian Curry Recipes |  Dal Recipes | Easy Dal Makhani Recipe
or until you find it becoming more of a sauce.
Indian Curry Recipes |  Dal Recipes | Easy Dal Makhani Recipe
Now add the tomato paste, turmeric, jaggery and cumin-coriander powder. Mix until combined.
Indian Curry Recipes |  Dal Recipes | Easy Dal Makhani Recipe
Close with the lid, reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 6-8 minutes
Indian Curry Recipes |  Dal Recipes | Easy Dal Makhani Recipe
until you find it thickens into a red gravy.
Indian Curry Recipes |  Dal Recipes | Easy Dal Makhani Recipe
Add the cooked lentil to this
Indian Curry Recipes |  Dal Recipes | Easy Dal Makhani Recipe
and stir to combine. Do a taste test and see if it needs more salt and/or jaggery.
Indian Curry Recipes |  Dal Recipes | Easy Dal Makhani Recipe
Cover with the lid, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for at least 10 minutes. The more you simmer, better its taste.
Indian Curry Recipes |  Dal Recipes | Easy Dal Makhani Recipe
Few minutes before serving, crush the kasuri methi / dried fenugreek leaves with your fingers and add it to the dal. Stir to combine.
Indian Curry Recipes |  Dal Recipes | Easy Dal Makhani Recipe
Serve hot, garnished with some finely chopped onions and cilantro. Goes extremely well with rotis and rice (steamed or pulav style). It also makes a great accompaniment to Kulchas and Naans. Indian Curry Recipes |  Dal Recipes | Easy Dal Makhani Recipe
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28 Responses to “Dal Bukhara”
  1. swapnil chauhan

    hi,,i was going through ur recipe,,pictures r tempting,,um going to make dis one for my father in law,for the vry first time,hope he ll like it,,, :)

  2. Raja

    Made it for guests… loved it. Kasuri Methi and Jaggery: nice touch! Combined it with Palak Paneer, Mattar Pulao, Aloo Raita, Pudina Chutney, Naan, and Gajar Ka Halwa for dessert… quite a treat!

    Thank you :) –DK

  3. Kanchana

    Is it very similar to dal makhini.?

    Similar, yes but not same. Pls refer my Dal Makhani Recipe post. –DK

  4. Tony

    Brilliant recipe. Thank you. Dish came put well.
    Eating it with naan :D

    Thank you :) –DK

  5. Rupa

    Tried the recipe n it came out well…. Yummy dal :-|

  6. nikhil

    dk could you tl me d name of that great chef who invented dis, I knw d invented plce bt nt d name of dat persn . ,

  7. PD

    Hi, how much salt do you add in Step 6? Salt is not listed in the ingredients list. Thanks.

    As per your taste. Will add in the ingredients section. Sorry for the lapse –DK

  8. anuradha

    too good dish. for morning breakfast with roti it goes well so the intake of rice reduced. very nice

  9. Deepthi

    It looks yummy.. I just read it now n no time to soak the dal and prepare for today’s dinner, but nevertheless, this is my tomo’s dinner menu. Thanks dear for the wonderful recipe. Am also from south and learning NI dishes as my hubby is from Lucknow. So will peep into your website frequently going forward. :) Cheers.

  10. Jacqui

    Very good, does it freeze well?

  11. zoram

    Very good recipe, just I cilantro at the end I leave out, I cannot stand the taste of it ! Without it –like heaven ! :wink:

  12. ashwani

    I am told that in rajsthan in a restaurant black dal bhukara is cooked for 40 hours. I want to know the name of the restauarnt , if some one has the answer please send me in my e mail

  13. Akhil

    I find the dish amazing, I’ll definitely try it.Thanks for the gr8 recipe. I was bored with eating ordinary food, I think you all must have (been in/are in) the same phase, so this is definitely for you an exotic Indian recipe with gr8 sections filled with delicious recipes.

  14. Charul it’s called Dal Bukhara coz, it’s from a restaurant named Bukhara at Maura Sheraton New Delhi, The original name of this dal is Dal Makhani

  15. Yash Pal

    Call me a party pooper, I don’t mind.
    Please check the Wikipedia for definition of ‘lentil’, ‘pulses’ and ‘legumes’
    The lentil (Lens culinaris) (International Feed Number, 5-02-506) is an edible pulse/bean. It is a bushy annual plant of the legume family, grown for its lens-shaped seeds. It is about 40 centimetres (16 in) tall and the seeds grow in pods, usually with two seeds in each.

    A pulse (Latin “puls”,[1] from Ancient Greek πόλτος poltos “porridge”)[2], sometimes called a “grain legume”,[3] is an annual leguminous crop yielding from one to twelve seeds of variable size, shape, and color within a pod. Pulses are used for food for humans and other animals. Included in the pulses are: dry beans like pinto beans, kidney beans and navy beans; dry peas; lentils; and others.
    Pulses are important food crops due to their high protein and essential amino acid content. Like many leguminous crops, pulses play a key role in crop rotation due to their ability to fix nitrogen.
    Just like words such as “bean” and “lentil”, the word “pulse” may refer to just the seed, or the entire plant.

  16. Anirudh

    I use Serrano instead of Jalapeno. I just don’t like what Jalapeno does to Indian dishes.

  17. kiranmai .... sweet

    oh man u r just amazing… i have visited a few cooking sites before but this is the only one i ever tried logging into to leave a comment. ur recipes and the photos are just so good and not to mention the wide variety of cuisine u cover…indian…south..north and so much continental… if its ok which part of the country do u actually belong…coz u made dal makhini with the same ease as u made payasam so jus wondering…but too good…really

    Thank you so much Kiranmayi for taking time to provide such a generous comment. I am originally from the South but having spent my growing up years in the North, I guess I am at home at both the places :) Foodies don’t have boundaries do they? ;) . –DK

  18. Sindhu Jitesh

    All your recipes are awesome!!! I never visit any other cooking site now coz all I need is instantly available here. Its a gr8 blog. All those pictures are a very gr8 help in cooking. Thanks a ton!!!!

  19. sana

    Hi, Please advice me on buying a pressure cooker. Just recently while cooking the lid of my old pressure cooker blew off, and I am terrified ever since, but may be mine was old and faulty so I was thinking of buying a new one. Please suggest me whether I should buy it or just let it go. Also if I buy, should I buy it from India? The Hawkins pressure cookers? I would be grateful. Thanks :)

  20. shadan

    very good and tasty recipes you post with step by step pictures i think u r very much interested in cooking it look’s yummy.

  21. I have to agree with Charul @ Tadka Masala.. all your photographs are indeed a visual treat. I woke up and saw this recipe in my inbox this morning, i went straight into the kitchen and left the dal to soak. This is edfinitely my dinner tonight, will come back and let you know how it turned out.

    Aweee….now that makes my morning :) Thank you Preveena :) –DK

  22. Rama Balage

    Very simple and nice recipe DK. Love the step by step instructions
    JR – Around the 1700s large double walled ovens called Bukharis were used to cook for the needy. The nawab once tasted and loved the food and turned them into royal recipes. Hence, till date any recipe with the name Bukhara is a tribute to those hardworking ovens. :)

    Wow! That’s an awesome info. Never knew that. Thank you so much Rama :) –DK

  23. Vrushali

    Nice recipe indeed! I love your blog! Beautiful photos and good description. Love your tips also. Question posted by Charul made me inquisitive too and found this! you may find it interesting

    They also mention the city and the restaurant! Cool! –DK

  24. I love the way you give step by step pictures only only because it is easy to understand that way, but also because it is a treat to eyes. :wink:
    PS: why is it called dal bukhara?

    Personally I have no idea – may be ‘cos it originated from the restaurant Bukhara (the one in Delhi I think?) or from the city in Uzbekistan! –DK

  25. JR

    DK, what brand vessel do you use for cooking? Where di you get it from?

    Mostly Cast Iron pans along with Calphalon (with occasional stainless steel pans) –DK

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