There are many many recipes for Dal Makhni and everyone has their own twist to making this delicacy. The literal translation from Hindi is ‘buttery dal’. I always wondered how restaurants got that amazing slow cooked flavor until I read somewhere that the chefs slow cook the whole pot of dal in a tandoor overnight! The recipe is quite simple but the cooking time is long. The longer the cooking time, the more intense the flavor. I find that cooking the dal in a dutch oven gives the best results as it retains heat very well. And please, use real whole cream and butter. Always (not just for flavor, but whole natural fat is better for your body than processed ‘low fat’ junk. It’s true).
I know many of you have your own recipes and am not sure how this differs from the ‘authentic dal makhni’, but I’ve been told this comes close to the old restaurant favorite. I have served this to guests many times and have always gotten the thumbs up. I don’t have any nice pictures at the moment, but I promise to add some soon!
Whole black lentils cooked in butter and cream!
- Urad Dal - Whole black, 2 cups
- Red Kidney Beans - 1/2 cup
- Butter - 2 tbsp + 2 tbsp
- Cumin seeds - 3/4 tsp
- Garlic - 2 cloves
- Ginger - 1/2
- Green chillies - 1 or 2, chopped
- Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
- Cinnamon - 1/2
- Cloves - 3
- Cardamom - 3 pods
- Bay leaf - 1
- Tomato - 4 tsp paste, OR 4 whole tomatoes pureed
- Heavy Cream - 1/4 cup, minimum and a maximum of 1 cup
- Dried Fenugreek leaves - 3 tsp, crushed
- Garam masala - 1/4 tsp
- Coriander powder - 1 1/2 tsp
- Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp, optional
- Salt - to taste
- Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
- Cilantro - 5 stalks, chopped
- Wash and soak the whole black urad dal and kidney beans overnight or for 6-8 hours. Discard the water the next day and wash it 3-4 times.
- Pressure cook the dals with twice the quantity of water, garlic, ginger, turmeric powder and salt for 3 whistles. Or cook in a pan on the stove top for 1 to 1.5 hours until very soft and mushy.
- Crush the chopped green chillies with the cloves, cardamom and cinnamon stick in a mortar-pestle.
- In another heavy bottomed pan or a dutch oven heat the butter. Once it melts and is hot, add the cumin seeds, asafoetida, green chilli mixture and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add the tomato paste (or whole tomatoe puree) and fry it in the butter (taking care to see that it doesn't burn) for a minute. You can add a little water to smoothen it out if the paste is very thick.
- Add all the boiled dal into pan and stir well. Cook for 15-20 minutes.
- Add the heavy cream and butter.
- Reduce the heat to low or simmer for 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes or so.
- You can serve the dal or continue to cook for another hour (or two!). Stir it every 10-15 minutes taking care to see that it doesn't burn at the bottom. A little water can be added in case it gets too thick. (I have cooked it for 3-4 hours when I had the time).
- Serve with naan, roti or rice. Enjoy!