Dal Makhani (Black Gram and Red Kidney Beans with Sour Cream)

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Dal Makhani (Black Gram and Red Kidney Beans with Sour Cream)

The sun may have been peaking through the clouds for a change, but it was so cold yesterday, I felt like I was living in an igloo. In an attempt to get warm, I cooked up a spicy Indian meal for dinner.

This is a rich, flavorful and wonderfully fragrant classic Punjabi bean curry made with spices, tomatoes, red kidney beans, whole urad beans and plenty of cream and butter, with sour cream used in this version for an extra sour and delightful tanginess. Whole urad beans — also known as black gram or black lentils — have a creamy white interior with black skins and impart a glutinous creamy texture to curries. They're commonly used in northern India, and can be found — as with the other ingredients in this recipe — at any Indian or Asian grocery store, but you can feel free to use whole azuki beans or mung beans instead.

On the menu with methi (fenugreek leaf) rice.

Dal Makhani (Black Gram and Red Kidney Beans with Sour Cream)Dal Makhani (Black Gram and Red Kidney Beans with Sour Cream)
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on February 12, 2008

Fragrant, creamy and spicy classic Punjabi curry of black gram and red kidney beans in a tomato and sour cream sauce

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

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  • 1 cup dried whole urad beans (black gram)
  • 3 tablespoons dried red kidney beans
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or butter
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafetida
  • 2 small tomatoes, diced
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon amchoor (dried mango) powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • Rinse the urad beans and red kidney beans and soak for 8 hours or overnight in several inches of water. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a large saucepan and cover with 2 cups of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour or until the beans are very soft. Remove from heat and mash some of the cooked beans with the back of a wooden spoon. Stir in the sour cream and set aside.

  • In a small saucepan or frying pan, heat the ghee or butter over medium heat. When hot, toss in the cumin seeds and stir for 1 minute. Add the ginger and garlic and continue to stir for another minute. Now add the tomatoes, ground coriander, chili powder and amchoor powder if using. Cook for 5 minutes or until the tomatoes thicken. Stir in the garam masala and cayenne and pour the tomato mixture into the beans. Stir and cook over medium-low heat for another 5 minutes.

  • Season with salt and serve hot.

Makes 4 servings

Dal Makhani (Black Gram and Red Kidney Beans with Sour Cream)


Peter M said...

e wonder of Indian cuisine is all the unique spices they employ. I've never heard of "asafoetida".

Dhivya said...

wow!great recipe...can u parcel this to me..i am drooling over here:)))))

Kalai said...

Wow! Awesome use of ingredients, Lisa! Looks delicious. :)

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

These lentils have just the right amount of flavour kick. I am with Peter though I have not heard of asofoetida. I will have to Google it :D..ever curious.

Lisa Turner said...

Commonly called hing in Indian, asafoetida is readily available from Indian grocery stores. I use the powdered version, which is most common. Only a small amount is needed to enhance a dish. You can read more about asafoetida here.

Asafoetida has a rather pungent odor. To prevent tainting other foods and spices with its odor, I advise you to store it only alongside well sealed ingredients.

Thistlemoon said...

This sounds totally awesome Lisa! I love it!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa, so glad I found your blog. Thanks for visiting mine. I LOVE black lentils, and has something like this in India recently.

zlamushka said...

Hey lisa,

I made this one last Sunday. I got a recipe from a big green book called CURRY that I bought in London during New Years. I wonder if we share the same cookbooks... :-)

Lisa Turner said...


I've not heard of that cookbook, but I have no doubt that I would like to have it. We do seem to enjoy the same flavours!