Dal Makhani.. Lentils at its perfection!


You know how some things or some food always remind you of someone. Sometimes because of the story related to it or sometimes probably because of the person’s love for it. Well! whenever I have to make urad ki daal ( black lentils) it never fails to remind me of my father-in -law. He loves urad daal so much that my mom-in-law even jokingly says that ” He met urad before he met me, so I can’t complain”.

You should listen to him when he talks about it and tells you how his childhood is connected to that daal. How he would come back from school and as soon as he would step on the street heading to his home he would know that mother has a special treat for him today. His mom would make daal in those old mud pots and it would be sitting on the choola ( traditional Indian stove made of mud) simmering for hours before it reaches that absolute perfection. Every-time he talks about that childhood experience of his you can actually see those feeling in his eyes, and then he would sigh and say ” you can’t get that taste in today’s cooking!”.

Its so strange how something as little as a simple daal (lentil) can bring back with it so many memories. Probably this is one of the reasons why I’m always scared to make that daal(lentil) when he’s coming for dinner. So today since he was not here I thought of making this preparation made out of urad ki daal Dal Makhani. 
Whenever I do so I always try to create a taste questioning if Papa would like it, so giving it a try one more time.


Facts: Dal makhani is a treasured staple food, originally from Punjab in North India. This dish is a type of daal(boiled lentils or other dried legume/pulse) eaten in India (in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and the Bhojpuri area of Bihar) and Pakistan. Its high in protein–an important attribute in primarily vegetarian cultures.

2 cups Urad dal
3/4 cup red kidney beans
1 cup chopped onion
3-4 cloves chopped garlic
1 inch ginger
1 tbsp tomato paste/ 1 cup chopped tomato
2 tbsp coriander powder
1tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
8-10 no. peppercorn
4-5 no. cloves
1-2 no. bay leaves
2 tsp curry powder
2 tbsp olive oil or ghee
1/2 cup heavy cream
2-3 tbsp shaken buttermilk

Soak the red kidney beans in water overnight or  else atleast for 6-8 hours


Wash the lentils thoroughly and put it in a pressure cooker. Add water to it about an inch above the level of lentils or maybe around 6 cups. Add turmeric, salt, peppercorn and cloves into it. Turn heat on and boil it on medium heat until they are well cooked.
In a thick bottom pan heat oil. Throw in bay leaves and then chopped onion. Saute onions until its translucent then make a paste of ginger garlic and add it to the onions. Fry it until everything looks golden in color and then add chopped tomato, cayenne pepper and coriander powder into it. Fry until tomato is almost dissolved and then add curry powder and after a minute add heavy cream to it.
When lid of the pressure cooker is ready to be opened add buttermilk into it. Stir well so that lentils are completely mixed into each other and then add the onion masala that has been prepared.
Garnish it with coriander leaves and if you want to take it up a notch just add a dollop of butter into it.
Serve hot with tandoori roti or plain basmati rice.


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  1. Do you use store bought curry powder? Besides garam masala I try and buy all spices whole and grind before using them. I’ve seen many recipes originating in the US which say curry powder and that always confuses me. I even read off the contents on a package but the proportions flummoxed me.

  2. this sound delicious, but i was wondering if you got a good recipe for mong dal, i remember it from india and it had a distinctive taste than all the other dal recipe i tried.
    i would love to try and recreate it and hope you can help

  3. i don’t know if my first comment made it thru or not…i’m wondering how to cook this if i don’t have a pressure cooker… thank you.

  4. I don’t think you can find the traditional roti but u can definitely find naan in a regular market. But I have seen readymade rotis in Indian store.

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