Raise your hand if you have not tasted this epic North Indian dish - Dal Makhani yet! Raise both hands and go run like this to a roadside dhaba or a small Indian restaurant near you and dig in to this divine dish.
Believe me this is no punishment, only a reward. Dal Makhani is a creamy Punjabi lentil curry simmered and slow cooked until the black gram lentils and kidney beans almost turn to a mush.
It is generally cooked with lots of butter and then finally smooth layers of cream are added to finish this aptly titled 'Dal Makhani'.
Makkhan in Hindi translates as butter in English and in India, especially Punjab, a lot of dishes have "Makhani" added to their name.
Usage of dairy products like milk, cream, butter, ghee (clarified butter) and paneer (cottage cheese) is profound in Punjabi cooking. Almost all Punjabi dishes have either one or more of these dairy products in them.
Before I share the recipe here, let me say that like many slow-cooked recipes, Dal Makhani turns out best when you take your time to cook it at leisure. It is not a dish in a jiffy and making it is time-consuming but once you scoop it with pillow-y bites of layered parathas (pan-fried flatbread), you forget about the time and effort put into making it.
I love eating my dal out of the fridge next morning served with hot parathas fresh off the tawa. Believe me, it tastes even better the next morning. This is the way breakfast has been happening at my naani's (grandma's house) since my childhood. Leftover dal from the night served with hot fluffy parathas.
Since it takes long for the black gram lentils and kidney beans to cook, I use a pressure cooker and soak both overnight in water.
Prepping Time: 8 hours
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Black lentils (whole): 3/4th cup
Kidney Beans: 1/4th cup
4-5 tbsp butter
2 green cardamom
1 black cardamom
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
2 tomatoes, pulped
4-5 green chilies
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
salt, to taste
coriander leaves, for garnish
cream 3-4 tbsp
1) A night before or at least 4-5 hours before cooking soak black gram and kidney beans in enough water to speed up the cooking.
2) In a pressure cooker, heat four cups of water. Add some salt, turmeric powder and pressure cook for on medium to low flame for about 30 min.
3) Take a pan, heat butter with just a tbsp cooking oil to avoid it from getting burnt.
4) Now add bay leaf, cloves, cardamom.
5) Put in the cumin seeds and stir until it changes colour and you smell a nice roasted fragrance of cumin.
6) Add chopped onions. Stir fry.
7) Until the onions brown, prepare ginger-garlic paste. Keep aside.
8) Keep checking on the onions and stir. Meanwhile, blend together tomatoes and green chili.
9) Set aside the tomato-green chili paste.
10) Stir the onions.
11) When onions look like such....
12) ...put in the ginger-garlic paste and stir fry until the raw smell disappears.
13) Now add in the tomato-green chili pulp.
14) Stir well. When tomatoes seem to be cooked and left some oil on the side, its done.
15) Now add in the red, chili powder, coriander powder, salt. Stir and saute for 2 min.
16) When it looks like this, your tadka is ready! Once the pressure cooker releases its steam, open carefully and add the dal to the tadka. Do not add all the remaining water. You can add it later in parts when the dal is simmering with the tadka. It should be thick and not runny so add little water every then and now. When the dal seems to be mixed well with the tadka, add in the cream and turn off the gas.
Serve hot with paratha or fuluffy phulkas (chapati)!
How do you like to eat your dal?
With parathas or naan?
Tell me all, I'd love to read what you think!
Thanks for reading! :-)