Rich, Creamy, Buttery and so Delicious, Dal Makhani is a Lentil Stew which is one of the most popular dishes in Indian restaurants. Make the Best Dal Makhni Ever using my easy recipe.
If you are looking for more Dal recipes to serve for your special meals, here are some – Dhaba Style Punjabi Dal Tadka, Navratan Dal, Whole Masoor Dal, Hyderabadi Khatti Dal, Amritsari Dal, and Malwa Dal.
What is Dal Makhani?
A popular North Indian Punjabi preparation, Dal Makhani literally translates to buttery lentils and is made with the combination of Whole Urad Dal, Chana Dal, and Rajma. This one is super-rich, as it loaded with ghee or butter and is generally made for special occasions.
Whenever I go to a North Indian restaurant to dine out, Dal Makhani Dal is a must to order. I just love to indulge in this super-rich, creamy, and super delicious lentil stew.
As much as I love eating this dal in restaurants, this Dal is also my go-to lentil to make for my festive meals. Every time I prepare it, I get so many compliments and everyone keeps asking for the recipe.
For me, the key to a delicious dal makhani is to cook it on low flame. It actually gives it a nice creamy texture and gets that smoky flavor which is just irresistible.
In olden days, this dal used to be cooked overnight over wood on very low heat. It gave the dal a very nice and smoky flavor and creamy texture. In today’s time, due to lack of wood fires and only so much time at hand, it’s preferred to cook it in a pressure cooker. But I have a secret tip to give that restaurant-style smoky flavor to this dal. Read along 🙂
This Dal Makhni is,
- Super rich
- Creamy & Buttery
- Apt for festive meals
- Just like the restaurant one
- Can be made in Instant Pot, Slow Cooker, or Stove Top
Dal Makhani Ingredients
This recipe of Dal Makhani is super delicious but when it comes to the ingredients, less is more. It requires some basic ingredients that are readily available in most Indian stores or online.
Lentil – To make this dal, Kaali Dal or Whole Urad Dal (Whole Black Lentils) is used. Along with it, a little quantity of Chana Dal (Split Chickpeas) and Rajma (Kidney Beans) are also used, which not only adds to its taste and creaminess but also to the nutrition in the Dal. Not many people know about the addition of chana dal in this recipe, but trust me, it makes all the difference.
I have used dried lentils and soaked them before cooking but you can use canned Black Lentils and Canned Kidney Beans to make this dish.
Tomato Puree – I prefer using the canned tomato puree, as it makes the Dal creamy and adds a nice restaurant-style taste to it. Replace it with tomato paste if the puree is not available. Reduce the quantity a bit.
Ghee, Butter, and Cream – Do not compromise on these ingredients because they add to the taste and richness of this dish.
Use full fat cream, for the creamy texture. You can also use homemade cream (malai) for this Dal.
Other Ingredients – Other than the above, you will need ginger, ginger garlic paste, onion, cumin powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder, Kasuri methi, and salt.
Kasuri Methi is optional, but it does add a delicious flavor to Makhani Dal, so do not miss it.
I sometimes like to add a little yogurt to make Dal Makhani. I have seen that it gives a lovely tang to it. You can choose to add or skip it.
Smoky Flavor – To give this dal a restaurant-style smoky flavor, I use coal. You can use a piece of cinnamon stick in place of coal if it’s not easily available.
How to make Dal Makhani?
Wash and soak rajma, urad dal, and chana dal in enough water overnight or for 8-10 hours. Add soaked rajma, urad, chana dal, 2 tbsp ghee, ginger garlic paste, red chili powder, cumin powder, and salt in a pressure cooker.
Add 5 cups of water and cook till the dal is nicely done.
I cook for 1 whistle on high heat and then simmered the heat. Cook for 15 minutes and remove the cooker from heat. Let the pressure release naturally and then open the lid.
Mash the dal with the back of a ladle until it is creamy.
In another pan, add the remaining ghee.
When the ghee is hot, add the cumin seeds.
When the cumin seeds start to splatter, add onions and fry till they become translucent.
Add tomato puree in the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes.
Add grated ginger and garam masala and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the mashed dal in the pan along with some water. Simmer the heat and cook for 20-25 minutes.
Add butter and cream and cook for 2 minutes.
Add kasuri methi and cook for another minute.
Garnish with fresh cream and coriander and the dal is ready to serve
Pro Tips By Neha
Soaking – Soak the Dal and Rajma for a minimum of 8 to 10 hours or overnight. It helps in cooking the beans and dal faster. Soaking also reduces the amount of Phytic Acid from the lentils and makes them easily digestible.
Wash the Dal and Beans twice or thrice before soaking. f you have forgotten to soak the lentils, soak them in boiling hot water for 2 hours and then pressure cook.
Freshness – Make sure that the Dals and Beans are fresh and not aged. If they are old, they will take a lot of time cooking.
Tomato Puree – Use canned tomatoes or packaged tomato puree for a better and smooth texture.
Dhungar – Do not forget to use a dungar method to smoke your Dal, this will just add magic to your Dal Makhani.
Butter & Cream – Do not compromise on Butter and Cream, as this Dal is known for its richness. Be generous with these two ingredients.
Slow Cooking – This Dal gets its creaminess from slow cooking. Try to cook it for at least 20-25 minutes on low heat for the flavors to come together and make the dal super creamy.
Scale – This recipe can be easily doubled or triples or even halved.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can make a vegan version of this dal by substituting ghee and butter with oil and yogurt and cream with cashew cream.
Just blend some cashew nuts with water to make a smooth paste. Use this paste in place of cream and you have a vegan dal makhani ready in no time.
When I am making it for everyday meals, I try to avoid butter and cream in the last step. But whenever there is something special like some festivals or guests at home, I add cream and butter to it.
You can also experiment with both the flavors and decide for yourself. But definitely, the addition of butter and cream refines the flavor of this dish making it more creamy and rich.
The Dhaba version of Dal Makhani is made without adding cream to it. The dal is slow-cooked and the second tempering of ghee is given over the served dal.
You can definitely make the Dal Makhani recipe without adding onion and garlic and the best part is that it comes out just as delicious.
I have a Jain Dal Makhani Recipe on the blog so do check it out.
Kesar Da Dhaba is a small joint in the city of Amritsar in Punjab. It’s famous for its vegetarian Punjabi food and people flock to this Dhaba to eat their fare.
Their Dal Makhani is very famous and we recently got a chance to eat it on our Amritsar trip.
The dal comes with ghee floating on top. There is hardly any cream in it but the amount of ghee and butter used to make it makes up for all the loss :).
The dal is slow-cooked overnight over the wood fire which gives it a creamy texture and a very earthy taste.
If you want to try something similar, go low on cream. Increase the amount of ghee to double and then pour some more while serving 🙂
As you all know Dal Makhani tastes even better the second day, so try and make one day before.
You can store it an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 4 to 5 days.
You can freeze it for up to 3 months in freezer-safe containers. Just thaw overnight in the refrigerator or for 3-4 hours over the counter, heat and serve.
Dal Makhani is best served the next day after it’s made. So try to make it a day before you want to serve it for the maximum flavor.
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Dal Makhani Recipe
- ½ cup Whole Urad / Whole Black Lentil
- 1 tbsp Chana Dal / Bengal Gram
- ¼ cup Rajma / Kidney Beans
- 4 tbsp Ghee
- 2 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- ½ tsp Cumin Powder
- 1 cup Onion (Grated)
- 6 tbsp Tomato Puree
- 1 tsp Ginger (Grated)
- 1 tsp Garam Masala
- 2 tbsp Butter
- ¼ cup Fresh Cream
- 1 tbsp Kasuri Methi
- Salt to taste
- Wash and soak rajma, urad dal and chana dal in enough water overnight or for 8-10 hours.
- Add soaked rajma, urad, chana dal, 2 tbsp ghee, ginger garlic paste, red chili powder, cumin powder, and salt in a pressure cooker.
- Add 5 cups of water and cook till the dal is nicely done. I cook for 1 whistle on high heat and then simmered the heat. Cook for 15 minutes and remove teh cooker from heat. Let the pressure release naturally and then open the lid.
- Mash the dal with the back of a ladle until it is creamy.
- In another pan, add the remaining ghee.
- When the ghee is hot, add the cumin seeds.
- When the cumin seeds start to splatter, add onions and fry till they become translucent.
- Add tomato puree in the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Add grated ginger and garam masala and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the mashed dal in the pan along with some water. Simmer the heat and cook for 20-25 minutes.
- Add butter and cream and cook for 2- minutes.
- Add kasuri methi and cook for another minute.
- Garnish with fresh cream and coriander.
- Serve hot with naan.
- If you like to give it a smoky flavor, then follow the Coal method which is popularly called a Dungar method. Heat coal directly on the flame, until it is red hot. Now place the coal in a steel bowl and place it in the middle of the Dal. Now add ghee on top of the coal, and close the pan with the lid and let it sit for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, open the lid, remove the bowl and give it a stir in the Makhani Dal. You can also use smoked paprika in the dal, for a subtle smoky flavor.