Classic Dal Makhani

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Classic Dal Makhani

Like chana masala and rajma, dal makhani is one of those signature north Indian dishes that one never tires of trying at restaurants or experimenting with in the kitchen. Warm, creamy and wonderfully fragrant and delicious, the essentials always remain the same but every cook has their own favored variations. Part of the gastronomical fun is attempting to top your last effort. For a complete vegetarian meal, serve this creamy Punjabi delicacy with a vegetable side dish and flatbread or grain dish.

Classic Dal MakhaniClassic Dal Makhani
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on March 28, 2008

Rich, creamy and flavorful classic north Indian kidney bean and urad bean curry cooked in a spiced tomato and cream sauce

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  • 1 cup whole urad beans (black gram)
  • 1/2 cup dried red kidney beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 dried whole red chilies
  • 1 tablespoon ghee, butter or oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • 3 green chilies, seeded and minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • pinch of asafetida
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • Rinse the urad beans and kidney beans and soak overnight in enough water to cover. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a large saucepan and cover with 4 cups of fresh water. Add the turmeric and dried red chilies and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are soft — about 1 hour.

  • Heat the ghee, butter or oil in a frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the cumin and fennel seeds and stir for 1 minute. Now add the onion and continue to stir for 5 minutes or until the onion begins to brown. Next add the ginger, green chilies, ground coriander, chili powder and cayenne, and stir for 1 minute. Toss in a pinch of asafetida, stir once, and the add the tomatoes and garam masala. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes thicken — about 10 minutes.

  • Stir the tomato mixture into the cooked beans and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. Mash some of the beans against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Stir in the cream and salt and cook gently for another few minutes.

  • Remove from heat, taste for seasoning, and serve hot.

Makes 6 servings


Neen said...

Your dals inspired me. While we were in Austin for Easter, between Church and the Big Event (dinner), we made my Dad drive us to the local Indian grocery store and bought POUNDS and POUNDS of different dals, which we then dragged onto our flight as carryons. That's how much your dals inspired me.

Lisa Turner said...

I'm flattered to hear this Neen. I strive to continue to provide you with inspiration.

TBC said...

I'm almost embarrassed to say this. Though I'm Indian, not once have I made dal makhani!:-( I've only had this at reastaurants...
I have made chana masala and rajma though...yay!

Susan Chastain Hulbert said...

Hi! I just found your site while tooling around the food blogs. This looks yummy! I'm bookmarking you!