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Dal Makhani served in a brown ceramic bowl with cream drizzled on top and naan and sliced onions on the side

Dal Makhani - The Ultimate Recipe! for Stovetop, Pressure Cooker and Instant Pot

This is the ultimate recipe for dal makhani - a buttery, luscious lentil curry. The lentils are cooked in an onion, tomato mixture and finished with a lot of cream. This recipe is a weekend project, but it'll make you enough that leftovers will last you a few days.
5 from 11 votes
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Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Dal Makhani, Fall and Winter Recipes, Indian Recipes, Lentils, Restaurant Style, Soup, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 5 Portions
Calories: 345kcal
Author: Richa

Equipment

  • Slow Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Black Whole Urad Dal whole Black Gram Lentils
  • ¼ cup Rajma Kidney Beans
  • 4 cups Water
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 3 tablespoons Ghee clarified butter
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 inch Cinnamon Stick
  • 4-5 Cloves
  • 2-3 Cardamom Pods
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger Paste grated
  • 3 Green Chillies finely chopped (Serrano Peppers)
  • 1 Onion finely chopped (large)
  • 4 Tomatoes coarsely blended
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Red Chilli Powder or Paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Salt divided
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 2 tablespoons Kasuri Methi dried Fenugreek, roasted
  • More cream for topping

Smoking Dal Makhani:

  • 1 piece Charcoal or lumpcoal
  • 1 tablespoon Oil

Instructions

  • Soak urad dal (black gram) and rajma (kidney beans) in enough water that there is an inch over, for at least 8 hours.

Stovetop Dal Makhani:

  • Drain the water from the soaked lentils and add them to a pot with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 4 cups water. Bring this to a boil and then reduce the flame to a simmer. Cover and cook for an hour till the beans can be easily smashed between your fingers. Alternatively, you can cook it in a pressure cooker for about 6-8 whistles. Ensure that the dal is completely submerged in water and there is at least an inch of extra water above the dal.
  • Once the beans are cooked, lightly smash them with a potato masher, making sure to leave them partially intact.
  • Heat ghee in a pot and add bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Saute them for a minute or two till you can smell the spices and add ginger garlic paste, green chilli and onions to the pot. Cook this till the onions turn translucent.
  • Add the tomatoes (blended), red chilli powder, salt and garam masala. Cook till the tomatoes are mushy, and add the cooked lentils with 1 cup water. Bring this to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or till the dal has thickened, making sure to stir occasionally because the dal tends to stick to the bottom.
  • Mix in the heavy cream, butter and kasuri methi. Switch off the flame and let the dal makhani rest for 15 minutes before serving, topped with more cream. Dal Makhani is ideally made the previous day to let the flavors mingle.

Traditional Pressure Cooker Dal Makhani:

  • Heat ghee in the pressure cooker and add bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Saute the spices for two minutes till you start smelling them.
  • Add ginger garlic paste, green chillies and onion. Saute till the onions become translucent. Add tomatoes, chilli powder, salt and garam masala. Cook the tomatoes till they become mushy.
  • Drain water from the lentils and add them to the cooker along with four cups fresh water. Pressure cook for at least 45 minutes or 8-10 whistles. Let pressure release naturally.
  • Open the lid, and mash the lentils partially with a potato masher. Simmer the dal for another 20 minutes till it thickens up.
  • Mix in the heavy cream, butter and kasuri methi. Let the dal sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Instant Pot Dal Makhani:

  • Switch on the saute function and add ghee, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Saute the spices for two minutes till you start smelling them.
  • Add garlic, ginger, green chillies and onion. Saute till the onions become translucent. Add tomatoes, chilli powder, salt and garam masala. Cook the tomatoes till they become mushy.
  • Drain water from the lentils and add them to the pot along with three cups fresh water. Cancel the saute function and turn on the pressure cook or manual function. Set the timer for 45 minutes and pressure cook on high. Release the pressure manually after 10 minutes, or let the pressure release naturally.
  • Open the lid, and mash the lentils partially with a potato masher. Switch on the saute function and simmer for 20 more minutes, stirring once or twice to avoid the dal from sticking to the bottom. The dal will start to thicken as it simmers.
  • Mix in the heavy cream, butter and kasuri methi. Switch to keep warm mode, and let the dal sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Smoking Dal Makhani

  • To smoke dal makhani, start by heating the charcoal till its red on an open flame or grill. Place a heat proof bowl in the middle of the pot of dal makhani and place the hot coal in it. Pour oil on the coal and cover the entire pot with a lid. Let the lid be covered for 5-10 minutes to smoke the dal.

Video

Notes

  • Whole urad dal (black gram) and rajma (kidney beans) are easily available at Indian stores
  • Kasuri Methi is dried fenugreek leaves that help round up the flavors in the dal makhani. Its available on amazon, and is used in many Indian recipes (on this blog), so stocking it won't be a waste
  • Don't skimp on the cream and butter in the recipe. These give the dal makhani its distinct texture and flavor
  • Feel free to adjust the spice levels based on your tastes by reducing the green chillies

Nutrition

Calories: 345kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 778mg | Potassium: 291mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1113IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 4mg