Dal Makhni

The flavors here were really good, though the recipe turned out a little more liquid-y than I wanted (and that was with my draining the lentils somewhat after cooking). I think if I just pulsed the mixture a few times with the stick blender, it’d be the consistency I was looking for, so I’ll try that next time. A friend sent me this recipe from Sanjeev Kapoor, an Indian chef.


 ½ cup sabut urad (whole black gram)  The stuff I found was black and just labeled “urad” so hopefully that was right 

5 cups water

1 ½ teaspoons salt

2 one inch ginger pieces, grated                            

½ cup tinned cooked rajma (red kidney beans)                                  

1 tablespoon vegetable oil                                                                                  

3 tablespoons butter                                                                      

1 teaspoon cumin seeds                                                                      

1 large red onion, chopped (⅓ cup) (I used shallot)                                          

8 garlic cloves, chopped                                

4 medium tomatoes, chopped (2 cups)                                                

1 teaspoon  garam masala powder                                  

½ cup  cream                                                           

1 teaspoon (red chile powder           

½ inch ginger piece, cut into thin strips (I skipped this)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves     

Place the lentils in a large bowl and wash thoroughly 2 to 3 times. Drain and add 3 cups of water and let it soak for 10 to 12 hours  (I only did 7-8). Drain the soaked dal in a colander.

Place a non stick medium sized deep pan on high heat and pour in 5 cups water.  When the water begins to boil, add the dal, salt and half the grated ginger and let the mixture come to a boil again.  Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 1 hour 15 minutes. At this point I poured off some of the water because there was quite a bit.

Add the tinned rajma and mix well and cook for 10 minutes more or till well blended.

Place a non-stick medium sized deep pan on medium heat and add the oil and butter. When the butter melts and small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, add the cumin seeds. When they begin to change color add the onion and fry for 3 to 4 minutes or till the onion turns golden brown.

Add the remaining grated ginger, garlic and tomatoes. Sauté till the tomatoes are well mashed and the oil starts to leave the masala. Add the cooked dals to this mixture and stir. Add 2 cups (400 ml) of water, increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil.

Add the garam masala powder and mix.  Reduce the heat to low and let the dal simmer for 15 minutes.

Reserve two tablespoons of cream for garnish (I forgot to do this) and add the remaining cream along with chile powder to the dal and mix.  Let the dal simmer for 5 minutes more on low heat.

Take the pan off the stove top and pour it into a serving bowl. Garnish with the ginger strips, cilantro leaves and the reserved cream and serve immediately with naan or parantha (types of Indian bread).


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