Dal Makhani


Dal makhani is a staple Indian dish in Punjab. It is so popular that you can find it served throughout India, with regional variances of course. Dal Makhani is typically made with whole black urad dal and rajma (red kidney beans). However, if you don’t have any kidney beans, you can substitute something similar. For example, I didn’t have any red kidney beans on hand, so I substituted with some pinto beans.  It still came out fabulous, and I had enough leftovers to freeze for future dinners. This is a perfect vegetarian dish, I promise you won’t miss the meat.  Although it tastes great with rice, you might as well go all out and stuff your face with butter naan.

K suggested this be part of the Diwali series, and I couldn’t agree more.


PSA: This dish is not for those of you watching your waistline. It is full of butter and cream.


  • 3/4 whole black urad dal, soaked over night
  • 1/4 cup red kidney beans, soaked over night
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cups tomato puree
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 red chilis
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp oil for cooking
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • salt to taste
  • handful of kasoori methi crushed with palm
  • handful of chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1.5 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 stick of butter, yeah, it’s a lot
  • 1 cup cream

To Make:

Drain the soaked urad and kidney beans and rinse. Put into pressure cooker along with 3.5 cups of water. Cook until 3 whistles and let pressure release. Reserve the liquid. 

In a large pan, add oil and heat on medium. Add cumin seeds, red chilis, and bay leaves, and once they sizzle add onions. Saute till onions are golden brown and add the ginger garlic paste and turmeric, and saute till raw smell goes away. Add the tomato puree.

Stir and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the spices, along with the butter. 

Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the liquid from the cooked dal. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. 

Add the dal. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Dal will thicken, take care not to burn the bottom.

Add the cream, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Adjust spices as needed. Add cilantro, and serve with rice/naan/chapatis.



7 responses to “Dal Makhani

  1. Pingback: Diwali Recipe Roundup! | WhitBit's Indian Kitchen·

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