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Dal Makhani Recipe | How to make Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani is a popular dish in Indian subcontinent especially in the northern parts of India. Whole black lentil is the key Dal Makhani ingredient with creamy texture. The dish is prepared with Whole black lentil along with Red kidney beans, butter and Cream.
Reading Time: 12 minutes

Dal Makhani is a popular dish in Indian subcontinent especially in the northern parts of India. Though it is prepared in many different parts of India, it is usually considered a Punjabi dish. Whole black lentil is the key Dal Makhani ingredient. The dish is prepared with Whole black lentil along with Red kidney beans, butter and Cream.

It is a very easy recipe but takes sometime to cook and hence it is one of the most popular Indian food dishes.

You can easily understand the popularity of this dish from the fact that in almost all parties and functions it is a key dish of the main course. In fact during outdoor lunch or dinner parties it is a default and must have dish for many people.

Due to its high demand the dish is available in almost every North Indian restaurants and hotels.

Dal Makhani Recipe | How to make Dal Makhani

In India since every state has its own culture and food habits hence there are some variations in preparation method of this dish. Dal Makhani is quite spicy in Northern parts of India whilst it is a bit sweeter in states like Maharashtra and Gujrat. In other states or region you may find the flavour somewhere in between.

Dal Makhani requires generous amount of butter, ghee and fresh cream which gives it the well known creamy texture. Due to extensive use of butter and fresh cream the dish gets its unique name. Makhani word derives from “Makkhan” which literally means butter.

It is a tasty dish which has a rich following from foodies and people of all age love it. The dish goes quite well anytime i.e. lunch or dinner time.

Dal Makhani for Festivals and Special Events

Dal Makhani is a very popular and important dish and holds a special place in food menu especially during special occasions. This is mostly true in northern part of India. It won’t be wrong to say that no party or marriage reception food menu would be complete without this special dish.

In recent times Dal Makhani’s popularity has grown exponentially. One of the reason would be more people choosing to eat outside and traveling to different regions for job or leisure tours. Also, the dish is quite easy to make. Due to this there is a push on restaurants to give this dish a place in their menu.

As more people are becoming aware of this simple dish they prefer to make Dal Makhani at home especially during festivals such as Diwali, Bhai Dooj, Karwa Chauth etc. Even celebrations like Birthday parties or any other smaller gatherings and household events call for this yummy tasty dish. So why not give it a try?

In this article we will go through different steps so you can also make this tasty dish at home.

Refer recipe card and detailed steps to understand as how to make Dal Makhani at home.

Making Dal Makhani at home

In this section we go through more detailed steps and photographs to make Dal Makhani dish at home. Follow along and see how you can further customize it based on your personal preferences.

Ingredients for Dal Makhani

Here is a list of Indian spices that are required to make delicious Dal Makhani at home. Following are the key Indian spices that are part of Dal Makhani ingredients – Whole Black Cardamom, Bay leaves, Asafoetida (Hing), Cumin seeds, Roasted Cumin seeds, Turmeric (Haldi), salt, Red chilli powder, Garam Masala, Dhaniya powder, Kasoori Methi and Dal Makhani masala.

We used M.D.H Dal Makhani masala as it tastes better however you can choose one available in your nearby Indian store.

If you have access to fresh Indian spices in your local store then we suggest you to use them instead of ready made masala. The reason for using fresh Indian spices is that it gives your dish best flavour, aroma and taste.

If you are planning to use fresh spices then just add dry Mango powder, Cassia, Black Pepper powder, Nutmeg powder, Star Anise and Mace to your spice list. These spices are in addition to the above mentioned Indian spices.

Dal Makhani Ingredients - Indian Spices
Dal Makhani Ingredients – Indian Spices

You would also require some fresh cream to make this dish. We used double cream to make this dish but you can use homemade cream as well.

Fresh double cream
Fresh double cream

Apart from the Indian spices you would also need – onion, tomatoes, green chili, garlic, ginger and few coriander leaves. Coriander leaves will be used to garnish the dish once it is ready.

Pre-Preparation For Dal Makhani

There are few pre-preparation steps which are required before making Dal Makhani. Based on our experience, few of these steps are optional and more a matter of personal preference.

To make Dal Makhani, first soak whole Black Lentil and Kidney beans in 2 cups of water overnight or 4-5 hours. Whole Black Lentil and Kidney beans both are hard by default. So it is good to soak it before preparation.

You can also make Dal Makhani instantly without soaking lentils overnight but you need to pressure cook it for longer time and needs to take 6-8 extra whistles.

Okay, so after soaking lentils overnight, wash them 2-3 times in running water.

Soaked whole black lentil and kidney beans
Soaked whole black lentil and kidney beans to make Dal Makhani

Now take Urad dal and Rajma in a pressure cook. Add 3 cups of water and 1/2 tsp salt into it.

Now keep pressure cook on high flame and take 4 whistle. Now slow its flame and take 3 whistle.

You may required to take more whistle based on hardness of water in your area

Boiled whole black lentil and Kidney Beans
boiled whole black lentil and Kidney Beans

Meanwhile let us get ready with Dal Makhani Ingredients to save some time later.

Now we will chop other vegetables to prepare gravy. So first we chop onion in big pieces and blend it using blender.

Next peel garlic cloves and then blend it along with green chillies using a blender to prepare garlic-green chilli paste. Now, blend ginger separately to prepare ginger paste.

Finally, cut Tomato in big pieces and blend it using blender to make tomato puree.

Dal Makhani Ingredients - Onion, Tomato, Green Chili, Garlic, Ginger and Coriander Leaves
Dal Makhani Ingredients – chopped onion, tomatoes, green chili, garlic, ginger and coriander leaves

How To Make Dal Makhani

Ok, so by now our lentils are perfectly boiled and we are ready with the ingredients so let us move on to the next steps.

To make Dal Makhani first take a frying pan and keep it on high flame. Once the pan is hot add 1 tbsp ghee and 1 tbsp butter to it. Now add Cumin seeds and Hing into it.

Ghee and Butter in frying pan to make Dal Makhani
Ghee and Butter in frying pan

When cumin seed starts to sputter add Bay Leaves, Black cardamom and finely chopped onions to it. Saute it for a couple of minutes.

Add finely chopped onion in hot clarified butter and sauté it
Add finely chopped onion in hot clarified butter and sauté it

Now would also be a good time to add garlic, green chili and ginger paste to it. Saute it again for a another couple of minutes.

Add ginger, garlic and green chili paste in saute onion to make dal makhani
Add ginger, garlic and green chili paste in saute onion

Once the onions become golden brown in color it is time to add tomato puree to it. Cover the frying pan with a lid and let it cook for another 2-3 mins. Remove the lid and you will see that tomato puree has mixed well so it is time to add some Indian spices.

Add Salt, red chili power, Dhaniya Powder, Turmeric Powder, Dal Makhani masala and Garam Masala into it and mix it well.

Adding Indian Spices into Dal Makhani gravy
Adding Indian Spices into gravy

Again cover it with a lid and let it cook for another couple of minutes. By this time all the spices would be cooked and mixed well with gravy. Add a little bit of water in case the gravy starts becoming sticky or dry.

Dal Makhani Gravy is cooked, now we add boiled lentils into it.
Dal Makhani Gravy is cooked, now we add boiled lentils into it.

Now it is time to add boiled lentils into the masala gravy and keep the gas on simmer flame for another 15-20 mins. Run it with a spatula every 5 mins or so. This will ensure that dal is not sticking to the bottom of the frying pan.

Slow cooking Dal Makhani in a frying pan
Slow cooking Dal Makhani in a frying pan

Now add remaining butter into it and cook it for another 5- 10 mins on low flame. Also, it is a good time to add 3-4 tbsp fresh cream into it. Mix it well and let it cook on low flame for another 5 mins.

By this time your Dal Makhani would be cooked properly and we are now just few steps away from making the dish. Add some finely crushed Kasuri methi into it and mix it well. Cook for another 5 mins in low flame and turn off the flame.

Your yummy, tasty Dal Makhani is ready to be served. Remember, to add some fresh cream and a spoonful of butter on top of it before serving. You should also garnish the dish with some freshly chopped coriander leaves.

The fresh aroma of chopped coriander leaves will just add to the overall food experience. Serve the dish hot with some sides and salad.

Dal Makhani is ready to be served with spoonful of fresh cream and butter
Dal Makhani is ready to be served with spoonful of fresh cream and butter

What To Serve With Dal Makhani

Though Dal Makhani can be served with any type of Indian bread or rice dishes but there are few Indian breads which are considered as best combination with Dal Makhani.

Here are few recommendations from us as Dal Makhani serving ideas –

Serving with Breads

Dal Makhani is best served with Plain Naan, Garlic Naan or Tandoor Roti. Few people also prefer it with Paratha. In such case we recommend serving it with Lachha Paratha.

Serving with Rice

Dal Makhani has best combination with Steamed Rice and Jeera Rice. Some people also like Dal Makhani with Peas pulao and Biryani.

Is Dal Makhani good for health?

No. Though Dal makhani is prepared with lentils you may think that it is good for health. However before going with this idea let us consider few other things.

Since Dal Makhani is prepared by using significant amount of Butter (Makkhan), cream and ghee (clarified butter) it is very rich in calories. If you are weight conscious this is an issue. Also, the dish is slow cooked due to which it looses some of its nutritional value. Ideally a dish is considered healthy if it has high nutritional value and is low in calories.

Due to the dish being calorie rich and low in nutritional value we do not consider Dal Makhani good for health though it is delicious.

So what is the middle ground? Well, we recommend consuming this dish only on special occasion and on festivals or in moderate quantity. It certainly should not be part of regular everyday meal. While making this dish, you should also consider lowering the quantity of butter and ghee used in cooking.

Chef Recommendation for Dal Makhani

  • Dal Makhani must be slow cooked for long time and on low flame. Do not hurry or rush as the taste is brilliant only when slow cooked.
  • You can use salted or unsalted butter as per availability, we have used salted butter. Therefore adjust salt as per taste.
  • For best flavour you can use home made butter or for ready made option available in market we would recommend to use Amul Butter.
  • Be generous in using butter and cream while making the dish as it enhances the real taste of Dal Makhani.
  • You can avoid Cumin seeds or Turmeric Power while making Dal Makhani.

Users Ask

What is Dal Makhani served with?

Dal Makhani is served with many side dishes. It is best served with Basmati Rice, Chapati, Paratha and Naan. It is also served with Pulao, fried rice and Biryani in many places. You should top it up with some butter before serving.

Is Dal Makhani good for weight loss?

No. Dal Makhani is not good for weight loss. The sheer amount of butter, cream and oil used in cooking this dish makes it calorie rich and hence can easily lead to weight gain. You can however eat it occasionally and enjoy the dish as the access calorie will wear-off in few days.

Is Dal Makhani healthy?

No, Dal Makhani is not healthy especially if you eat it quite often. A lot of butter and cream is used in preparing the dish which makes it a calorie powerhouse. Also, though the dal is rich in Vitamins and minerals the slow cooking process looses most of it benefits. Cooking for long tend to lower down Vitamins and mineral content of a dish though it still tastes great.

Why Dal Makhani is called Dal Makhani?

Dal Makhani as the name states is butter dal or buttery dal. The amount of butter and cream used in preparing this dish is the reason it is called Dal Makhani as it suggests butter is the key ingredient for the dish. Due to the amount of butter used it very rich in calorie.

Can Dal Makhani be made without soaking?

Yes Dal Makhani can be made without soaking however it will take lot of time to cook the dish especially if cooking in a pot. If you are using a pressure cooker then you will have to give more whistles before the dal can get cooked properly. Due to increase in time and energy consumption it is recommended to soak dal before cooking Dal Makhani.

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Tasty Dal Makhani Served with Steamed Rice

Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani is a popular dish in Indian subcontinent especially in the northern parts of India. Whole black lentil is the key Dal Makhani ingredient with creamy texture. The dish is prepared with Whole black lentil along with Red kidney beans, butter and Cream.
5 from 3 votes
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Course: Currys, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 182kcal
Author: Team Felicity

Ingredients

Main Ingredients for Dal Makhani

  • 70 gm Sabut urad dal whole Black beans
  • 30 gm Rajma Red Kidney Beans
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 2 Medium Tomato
  • 1 tbsp Garlic-green chili paste
  • 2 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Black Cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • Pinch of Asafoetida
  • 2 tsp salt As per taste
  • 3/4 tsp Red Chili Powder Lal Mirch Powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder Haldi Powder
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Dhaniya Powder
  • 1 tbsp M.D.H Dal Makhani Masala
  • 1/4 tsp Roasted Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Kasuri Methi Dried Fenugreek leaves Powder
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp clarified butter
  • Fresh Double Cream
  • Few Coriander leaves

Instructions

Preparation Steps to make Dal Makhani

  • To make the Dal Makhani, Soak whole Black Lentil and Kidney beans in 2 cups of water overnight or 4-5 hours.
    70 gm Sabut urad dal, 30 gm Rajma
  • In morning rinse the water and again wash it properly 2-3 times under running water
  • Now take Urad dal and Rajma in a pressure cooker. Add 3 cups of water and 1/2 tsp salt into it.
  • Now keep pressure cook on high flame and take 4 whistles. Now slow its flame and take 3 more whistles.
  • You may be required to take more whistles based on hardness of water in your area and your pressure cooker brand.
  • Meanwhile we can prepare Other Dal Makhani Ingredients and for this chop the onion into big pieces and blend it using a blender.
    1 Medium Onion
  • Now blend garlic clove and green chili using blender to prepare garlic-green chili paste
    1 tbsp Garlic-green chili paste
  • Blend ginger separately to prepare ginger paste for dal Makhani
    2 tsp ginger paste
  • Now cut tomatoes into big pieces and blend it using blender to make tomato Puree.
    2 Medium Tomato

How to make Dal Makhani

  • To make Dal Makhani take 1 tbsp ghee and 1 tbsp butter in a frying Pan.
    1 tbsp clarified butter, 3 tbsp butter
  • Add Cumin Seeds, Hing, Bay Leaves and Black cardamom to it.
    2 bay leaves, 1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds, Pinch of Asafoetida, 1 Black Cardamom
  • When cumin seeds start to sputter add finely chopped Onion, Garlic green chili paste and ginger paste into it.
    1 Medium Onion, 1 tbsp Garlic-green chili paste, 2 tsp ginger paste
  • Now run it for few mins until onion paste becomes light brown in color
  • Once onions are cooked properly add tomato puree to it. Cover it with a lid and let it cook for another 2-3 mins.
    2 Medium Tomato
  • Now add spices such as salt, red chili power, roasted cumin seeds, Dhaniya Powder, Turmeric Powder, Dal Makhani masala and Garam Masala into it
    2 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp Red Chili Powder, 1 tsp Turmeric Powder, 1 tsp Garam Masala, 1 tsp Dhaniya Powder, 1 tbsp M.D.H Dal Makhani Masala, 1/4 tsp Roasted Cumin Seeds
  • Now again cover it with a lid and let it cook for another couple of minutes.
  • Now add cooked dal into it and keep the gas on simmer flame for another 15-20 Mins (run it every 5 mins so that Dal does not stick to the bottom of the frying pan)
  • Now add remaining butter into it and cook it for another 5- 10 mins on low flame.
    3 tbsp butter
  • Now add 3-4 tbsp fresh cream into it. Mix it well and simmer it for another 5 mins.
    Fresh Double Cream
  • Till this time your Dal Makhani must be cooked properly. Now add finely crushed Kasuri Methi into it and mix it well.
    1 tsp Kasuri Methi
  • Now cook it for another 5 mins in low flame and turn off the gas.
  • Your Dal Makhani is ready. Now while serving do not forget to add some fresh cream and spoon of butter on top of it and garnish it with some finely chopped coriander leaves.
    Fresh Double Cream, Few Coriander leaves

Notes

Few considerations while cooking and serving Dal Makhani –
  • Dal Makhani must be cooked for long time in low flame.
  • You can use salted or unsalted butter as per availability, we have used salted butter.
  • Be generous for butter and cream while making Dal Makhani as it is the real taste of Dal Makhani.
  • You can avoid Cumin seeds or Turmeric Power while making Dal Makhani.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 182kcal (9%) | Carbohydrates: 13g (4%) | Protein: 3g (6%) | Fat: 14g (22%) | Saturated Fat: 8g (50%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 34mg (11%) | Sodium: 1308mg (57%) | Fiber: 3g (13%) | Sugar: 4g (4%)
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