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Dal Makhani is a very popular dish in Indian subcontinent. It is a very rich dal, with lots of butter and cream in it. Here I am sharing with you a quick version of dal makhani recipe.
Among the many vegetarian dishes, dal makhani is a very famous dish, originating from the Punjab region of India. It is traditionally made in a slow cooking process, which gives out the best results in terms of its taste and looks. It is creamy in texture because of lots of makhan (homemade butter) and cream added to it.
Dal Makhani was popularized in India by Kundan Lal Jaggi, Kundan Lal Gujral and Thakur Dass, somewhere after the partition of India and Pakistan. They migrated from the punjab region of now Pakistan and opened a restaurant named Moti Mahal. I know, you all would be like, Oh! the very famous restaurant of Moti Mahal, in Delhi. Yes, that’s right. And now this restaurant has branches all over the world, popularizing the famous punjabi cuisine dishes.
So it is but obvious that the humble Dal Makhani is now famous globally. It is a time taking dish, almost like 14-18 hours if made in the traditional method, which ensures the great restaurant like flavour and aroma. Dal Makhani is also quite a staple food in punjabi homes. So there are as many versions of its recipes everywhere, as it can get.
The original Dal makhani recipe is, though time-consuming but very easy. Nothing fancy about it. But now-a-days with the pressure cooking, making this dal is very less time taking. once, I came to know at 4 pm that I am going to have a few guests at my home over dinner, and I just so easily prepared dal makhani and was done with it by 8 pm. So yes, there is an instant version (if I may call it instant) of this dal, that can be prepared quickly as compared to almost 18 hours of its preparation.
What is Dal Makhani prepared with?
Dal (lentils ) – Dal Makhani is prepared with sabut Urad dal ( whole black gram). Some rajma (red kidney beans) are also added in this dal. It is best to take the fresh stock of dals to get the wonderful taste of dal makhani.
Spice – Originally, dal Makhani doesn’t have any kind of spices. It is so humble that other than some red chillies, a dash of turmeric and salt, it doesn’t require any spices. It is just a wonderful celebration of making dal with minimun ingredients and maximum taste. The quicker version of this recipe that I am sharing here, has a few spices which brings out a great aroma in dal makhani.
Butter – Dal Makhani is just dal and butter. That is all that’s there in this dal. You slow cook dal and keep adding makhan (butter) in it, quite generously. Butter that is added to this dal can be in any form. You can add market bought butter, but if you have homemade white butter (makhan), then nothing like that. Some even add cream in it. It just enhances the flavor of the dal and adds to its creamy texture.
Onions – Normally, onions are not added in this dal. It’s tadka or tempering is also very simple. But I like the taste of onions in this dal and hence I add finely chopped onions in it. It is totally optional.
Tomatoes – Tomatoes are important and you should not omit them from this recipe. The tomatoes you choose, should be sour as that gives out a different taste to this dal.
How is Dal Makhani served?
Dal Makhani is mostly enjoyed with naan or any Indian bread. There’s a great variety of Indian breads that you can take your pick from;
- Plain Naan
- Butter Naan
- Garlic Butter Naan
- Lachha Paratha
- Missi Roti
- Atta roti (tandoori roti)
- Rumali roti
Dal makhani is greatly enjoyed with rice also. In my home, we relish it with plain jeera rice.
Consistency of Dal
Some believe that, dal makhani has to be very thick, to get that ultimate restaurant style taste. For that they even add other thickening ingredients in the dal.
But that’s a misconception. Dal makhani is thick because it is slow cooked for a long time and then mashed a little, using a ladle only, which thickens it further and brings out the ultimate taste of it. No thickening agent is required in this dal.
But you can choose to make it a little thin too, if you wish to serve it with rice. The taste will not get compromised with its little thin consistency.
Some other interesting recipes;
The basic steps of dal makhani is same and very simple. Yes, it needs preparation before cooking it but that’s just a basic one.
Washing – The sabut urad dal or whole black gram and rajma or kidney beans are washed thoroughly by scrubbing them nicely. This is very important to take out all the dirt from this dal. Wash it 2-3 times and it is ready for next step.
Soaking – This is the first part, where it takes time. You need to soak this dal for about 12 hours. Almost like over night. This ensures that the lentils are soft and ready for next step. So whenever you want to prepare this dal, its preparation of washing and soaking should be done the previous night.
Cooking – After soaking the dal for about 12 hours, it is traditionally cooked in a pot for about 3-4 hours or until the dal (lentils ) are soft and mushy. Yes, it is very important for this dal to get mushy, because only then it gets the thickening it needs and also it releases the taste of dal completely.
Adding makhan or butter – Now, while slowly cooking this dal, you have to add makhan or butter , what ever you have. Be generous in adding the makhan or butter, but add in batches. now there is no quantity for adding butter. More you add it, more tasty the dal makhani will be.
Tempering – With a little ghee in a pan, add some ginger garlic paste and then tomato puree. I prefer to use fresh tomatoes and just blend them to get the paste. You can use store bought tomato puree too. Add a little haldi (turmeric powder) and red chillies too. Just cook till tomatoes leave the ghee and add all this in the dal. Yes, we add tempering to the dal, unlike the normal procedure where we add dal in the tempering. Now cook further to incorporate all the taste of tomatoes and ginger-garlic in to the dal. And off course keep adding the makhan. Serve hot.
Now these are basic steps of preparing dal makhani. To make it in a quick version I have changed the steps a little bit, which I have described in detail below.
Recipe Video of Dal Makhani
- Sabut Urad Dal (Whole black gram ) – 1/2 cup
- Rajmah (red kidney beans) – 2 tbsp
- Grated ginger – 1 tsp
- Grated garlic – 1 tsp
- Onion – 1, medium, finely chopped
- Tomato – 2-3 big , puree
- Cream – 1/2 cup
- Tejpatta (bay leaf) – 1
- Badi elaichi (black cardamom) – 1
- Hari elaichi (green cardamom) – 2
- Dalchini (cinnamon) – 1 inch pc
- Jeera (cumin seeds) – 1 tsp
- Whole red chilli – 1
- Haldi (turmeric) pdr – 1/2 tsp
- Red chilli pdr – 1 tsp (preferably deggi mirch)
- Dhania (coriander) pdr – 1 tsp
- Garam Masala (all spices pdr) – 3/4 tsp
- Kasuri methi – 1 tsp
- Oil – 1.5 tbsp
- Butter – 50 gm (increase as per your wish)
- Water as required
- Salt as required
1.Take sabut urad (whole black gram) and rajmah (red kidney beans) and wash them properly. I did not soak them as I made an instant or quicker version of this dal.
2. Now add the tej patta (bay leaf) , badi elaichi (black cardamom), hari elaichi (green cardamom) and dalchini (cinnamon) stick in the dal, and pressure cook it until soft and mushy. Add a little salt too while pressure cooking it.
3. Once boiled, take out the whole spices.
4. Heat oil and butter in a pan.
5. Add jeera (cumin seeds), and red whole chilli.
6. Cook until the jeera splutters. Now add haldi (turmeric) powder, red chilli powder, dhania (coriander) powder, and garam masala. Cook for about a minute.
7. Now, add grated ginger and garlic. Cook for a minute.
8. Add chopped onion and cook a little.
9. Add tomato puree and salt and cook until the oil separates from tomatoes.
10. Now add the cooked dal and mix everything.
11. Crush the dal a little while mixing using the laddle only. Now add a little water and adjust the consistency of the dal.
12. In the end add the cream and more butter (optional).
13. Sprinkle kasuri methi and serve hot with naan or rice.
I have made a quick version of this dal here. It is more like how I make it at my home. But for special occasions I do make the original version of this dal makhani. Will be sharing its recipe with you all sometime soon.